In a USA Today opinion piece, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump told Fox’s Kirsten Powers that women should “‘find another career’” if they are sexually harassed by their employer, referring to former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson’s allegations against ousted Fox CEO, and current 21st Century Fox consultant, Roger Ailes.
Trump previously defended Ailes during a Meet the Press interview, telling NBC’s Chuck Todd that Ailes has helped the women who are “complaining,” and noting that the women have said “wonderful things about [Ailes].” Trump went on to say the situation is “very sad … I’ve always found him to be just a very, very good person.” Trump also has consulted with Ailes throughout the campaign, including the week that he announced his departure from Fox News. When asked if he would consider bringing Ailes on the campaign in an official capacity, Trump said he would consider it, and called Ailes “a very capable guy.”
In a phone interview with Fox News contributor Kirsten Powers, Trump doubled down on his defense of Ailes, suggesting Carlson wouldn’t have said “fabulous things” about her former boss if she was had been harassed. Powers asked Trump what his daughter Ivanka would do if she was in Carlson’s position. Trump responded that he would “‘like to think she would find another career or … company if that were the case.” From the August 1 opinion:
Donald Trump thinks it’s “very sad” that women at Fox News are “complaining” about being sexually harassed by former Fox chief Roger Ailes.
As allegations against his old friend piled up, Trump told NBC’s Chuck Todd on July 24 that, “Some of the women that are complaining, I know how much he's helped them…And when they write books….and say wonderful things about him….[N]ow, all of a sudden, they're saying these horrible things about him.”
Without passing judgment about the specific allegations, which are currently under investigation by 21st Century Fox, one should be able to accept that a woman could both have been promoted by a boss and harassed by him. Women are often forced to maintain good relations with men who abuse them precisely because those men have power.
When I mentioned this to Trump in a phone interview last Tuesday, he doubled down on his retrograde take. “There was quite a bit of fabulous things said [about Ailes by Gretchen Carlson],” he told me. “It would be easier for me and more politically correct for me to say you are right. But you would think she wouldn’t say those things.”
I pointed out that it wasn’t just Carlson who had made allegations. “I didn’t know it was more than just her,” Trump told me, even though his comments to Chuck Todd referred to women, plural.
What if someone had treated Ivanka in the way Ailes allegedly behaved?
His reply was startling, even by Trumpian standards. “I would like to think she would find another career or find another company if that was the case,” he said.
But most women don’t have the financial resources of Ivanka. They can’t afford to quit their job without another in hand, something that is impossible to do when you are under contract and forbidden to speak to competitors. Most importantly, why should a woman be expected to upend her career just because she ended up in the crosshairs of some harasser?
Trump’s defense of Ailes and criticism of the alleged victims comes as the media blackout of Trump’s own alleged sexual assault continues. Trump denied the allegations by pointing to an article that had appeared in The National Enquirer.