U.S. President Donald Trump appears to be rehabilitating his image, following his “grab women by the pu**y” comment and similar misogynistic remarks, as Women’s History Month comes to a close.
On Wednesday, the former reality show star and now chief executive has told reporters and attendees of the Women’s Empowerment Panel that his administration will do what it takes to promote women’s rights and prioritize their access to premium health care.
“I’m so proud that the White House and our administration is filled with so many women of such remarkable talent,” he said in his speech. “My administration will work every day to ensure that our economy is a place where women can work, succeed and thrive like never before.”
“That includes fighting to make sure that all mothers and all families have access to affordable child care. We want every daughter in America to grow up in a country where she can believe in herself, believe in her future, and follow her heart and realize her dreams.”
A Reuters video of the speech was published by The Washington Post. The Post noted that the president seemed to be doing so well until he joked about whether his audience has heard of Susan B. Anthony. However, presidential spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump was simply misunderstood.
Sanders criticized the media’s focus on such jokes and the lack of tweets or articles pertaining events in which the “the president was surrounded by only women.” She cited the women’s empowerment panel as an example, where over 200 women participated and listened to the president’s speech, according to The Post.
In his speech, President Donald Trump also recalled the time when he met with self-made women leaders across the U.S. who built their businesses from the ground up and are now providing jobs to hundreds of people through their successful ventures. “Just think of what our country could achieve if we unleashed the power of women entrepreneurs nationwide. Think of that,” he said.
Trump ended his speech by focusing on the American dream, that everyone in America no matter the gender should work towards enabling themselves to have a positive future.
“We are Americans, and we will not stop until we have achieved our dreams.”
Many watchdogs found Trump’s speech, which praises women’s achievements, interesting, if not infuriating, considering that women still represent a small minority on his cabinet. Only four women are cabinet members, and they also hold lower-ranking positions, according to NBC New York.
The news outlet also pointed out that Trump’s cabinet is “more white, and more male” than president Ronald Reagan and George Bush’s cabinet, based on a diagram by The New York Times. According to The Times’ report, 18 white men are currently serving Trump’s cabinet, as compared to Reagan (17) and Bush Sr. (12).
In January, the president drew the ire of thousands of women after he withdrew government funding for international health organizations providing abortion advice to patients as a family-planning choice. Rolling Stone magazine described the move as Trump’s “middle finger” to Women’s Marchers.
Dubbed “the global gag rule,” the policy, which was introduced in the Reagan era as the “Mexico City policy,” enforces non-profits worldwide to “disavow any involvement with abortion in order to receive U.S. family planning funding,” Slate reported. Suzanne Ehlers, the president and CEO of reproductive health organization PAI, told Slate that the policy translates to about $9.5 billion worth of withdrawn funding from organizations that also help AIDs and malaria victims.
Who could also forget the “dress like a woman” hashtag campaign that descended on Twitter, after it was reported that White House staff who were eager to please were dressing more “lady-like” to impress the head of state?
— Brie Larson (@brielarson) February 4, 2017
The White House on Wednesday enlisted Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump as “special assistant” to the president. First lady Melania Trump also seemed to be more involved in the president’s public affairs, speaking at several engagements this Women’s History Month.
Experts would agree that the president would have to do more than a speech to emerge from the hole that he dug for himself. Will Trump follow through or not? Only time can tell.
[Featured Image by Andrew Harnik/AP Images]