10 Ways Trump Has Harmed Women

Supermajority Education Fund

July 8, 2020

Since the earliest days of his campaign, it’s been apparent that Donald Trump would be dangerous for women. From referencing debate moderator Megyn Kelly’s menstrual blood in August 2015 to stalking Hillary Clinton around the stage in another debate in October 2016 to having been accused of sexual misconduct by 25 women, Trump has indicated some dangerous misogynistic beliefs and behaviors.

Since becoming president, we’ve continued to hear Trump use sexist language about women leaders, promote policies that would hurt women, and refuse to provide adequate leadership in a global pandemic that is disproportionately affecting women — especially women of color. Here are just a handful of the actions the Trump administration has taken to seriously and negatively affect women. 

25 women have accused him of sexual misconduct

One month before the 2016 general election, an Access Hollywood video leaked of Donald Trump telling former correspondent Billy Bush that he could do whatever he wanted to women: “Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything,” he said. Trump has since been accused of sexual misconduct by 25 women. Recently, writer and advice columnist E. Jean Carroll has publicly written about her accusation that Trump raped her in a Bergdorf Goodman 23 years ago. 

He watered down the overtime pay policy in the U.S.  

In 2019, the Department of Labor announced that, under the Trump administration, it was scaling back a proposed Obama-era rule that would have doubled the amount of overtime pay a worker could receive. The Trump administration decided to only lift the minimum wage salary limit from $23,000 to $35,000. This had a severe impact on single mothers and women of color. Of the eight million workers this watered-down policy effects, more than half were women, and more than a third were people of color, the Economic Policy Institute estimated last year. 

He rolled back transgender protections 

On June 12, 2020, the Trump administration announced that it would remove transgender people’s healthcare protections. This means that healthcare providers can refuse services to patients based on their gender identity. The administration made this decision on the fourth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, during Pride month, and in the middle of a global pandemic. As the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) notes, transgender women of color have already disproportionately experienced violence, unemployment, and homelessness, and this decision only further limits their safety. This decision also followed one of the Trump administration’s first actions in 2017 to rescind an Obama-era rule that protected transgender students in public schools. 

His call for paid family leave was only lip service

During the State of the Union in February, President Trump called for more family leave. Still, critics argued that there was one big problem with the Republican-embraced bill that would expand funds for family leave: It requires people to borrow from their future benefits, which would harm women in particular. The cost of delivering a child in the U.S. is significantly on the rise, and millennial women are already choosing not to have kids because of their existing financial insecurity. Borrowing from their future benefits to pay for care would only hurt them further. In the context of the pandemic, we’ve seen millions of women, including single mothers, become essential workers who need 24-hour childcare. This only highlights the crisis of paid leave in our country and the fact that this administration has not given us a sufficient solution. 

He targeted women government leaders during COVID-19

As women leaders continued to be praised during COVID-19, Donald Trump specifically targeted women governors’ approach to the health crisis. “We’ve had a big problem with the young, a woman governor,” he said in an interview last week with Sean Hannity, the Fox News host. “You know who I’m talking about, from Michigan,” he said in March, referring to Michigan’s governor, Gretchen Whitmer. 

He quietly changed the definition of domestic violence 

In February 2019, the Trump administration quietly changed the definition of domestic violence and sexual assault. The Department of Justice changed its definition to only consider physical harm that constitutes a felony or misdemeanor to be domestic violence. This means that psychological abuse does not fall under that umbrella.  

He separated families at the border

Long before the Trump administration implemented its “zero tolerance” policy in May 2018, it separated families at the El Paso border and has continued to do so for years. Last September, five mothers separated from their children after they crossed the border filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration. After being separated from their mothers for months, many of the children have reported traumatic stress disorders. 

He enacted the global gag rule 

One of Trump’s very first actions as president was to issue a Presidential Memorandum Regarding the Mexico City Policy, which reinstated a law that requires foreign nongovernmental organizations receiving U.S. global health assistance to certify that they do not use U.S. funds to provide abortons, counsel patients about abortion, or advocate for abortion laws. 

He appointed Judge Brett Kavanaugh 

Trump’s nomination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in 2018 led to Christine Blasey Ford, a professor and research psychologist in Northern California at Palo Alto University and the Stanford University PsyD Consortium, to come forward to accuse Kavanaugh of raping her in the early 1980s. Kavanaugh’s angry reaction to Blasey Ford’s public testimony in September of that year caused sexual assault victims to have to relive the trauma of their pasts. Kavanaugh’s judicial record on abortion is also worrisome for Roe v. Wade advocates.