TROY — Ivanka Trump, the daughter of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, highlighted a lack of safe, affordable childcare and tax laws that she said negatively impact women returning to the workforce at a roundtable discussion and community Q&A session in Michigan Wednesday.
“Every issue is a woman’s issue,” Ivanka Trump said. “That being said, there are certain areas that disproportionately affect women.”
According to a recent aggregate of Michigan polls by RealClearPolitics, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton leads the Republican nominee by 6.4 points six days before the election. Despite her lead, both campaigns have made numerous stops in the state, especially in the past few days, in hopes of winning Michigan’s 16 electoral votes.
Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Donald Trump Jr. were also in Michigan Wednesday, campaigning for the respective candidates.
During the Wednesday event, Ivanka Trump, who is an executive vice president of development and acquisitions for her father’s company, The Trump Organization, emphasized how her father’s policies could help women.
Over the past few months, the Republican nominee has faced significant criticism on his attitude toward women. Last month, The Washington Post released a 2005 tape of Trump in which he discussed touching women without their consent. Since the publication of the tape, multiple women have come forward to accuse Trump of sexually assaulting them. The Trump campaign has denied the women’s accounts.
However, in Troy, Ivanka Trump’s discussion of her father’s policies on women’s issues resonated for many in attendance, including a collection of local businesswomen who. attended the event. Michelle Fint, who is employed in the hotel industry and expressed support for Trump, said she was especially concerned about health benefits.
“My concern is primarily with women’s issues,” Fint said. “In particular, with the plight of single mothers. Some places have been forced to stop offering the same health benefits to those in that situation, which can really affect people’s future planning.”
Business issues were a frequent touchstone for Ivanka Trump, who also wove in concerns about child care and education, such as maternity leave — issues that she said are of particular concern for women in business.
“One of the areas that my father has felt strongly about is paid maternity leave,” Trump said, prompting a loud applause from the crowd.
Despite the focus on women’s issues, some women in attendance, like Marian Sheridan, did not emphasize women’s issues as the most important issues of the election.
Prior to the event, Sheridan said she believed gender relations in the United States were already positive.
“We already have the best country in the world for gender relations,” Sheridan said. “I don’t see that as something that needs tinkering. I believe that it’s an example of how Democrats try to find issues with things.”
In her remarks, Ivanka Trump also discussed her father’s educational plan, in particular his proposal for the allocation of grants to the states to address educational standards, and his support for charter and magnet schools.
“My father will repeal Common Core when he is president,” Trump said. “He has a plan to provide grants to the states so that they can best address the needs of their schools. Additionally, he believes in school choice for students … There should be no one-size-fits-all approach.”
Trump concluded the event by reaffirming her confidence in her father’s abilities to call upon his business leadership skills during his time in office, if elected.
“My father is someone who swings for the fences, but also executes,” Trump said. “And what you can count on is that he is not beholden to anyone but the American people.”
Some supporters also gathered outside of the event to express their sentiments about Trump. Parked outside was the Trump Unity Bridge, a 14-foot-long art piece made out of a discarded foot-bridge created by Rob Cortis that Cortis said is supposed to be symbolic of Trump’s “goal of national unity.”
“The Pope, earlier in the campaign said that Trump should be building bridges,” Cortis said. “And I liked the image of the bridge — I also support Trump’s wall proposal — but I think that it is also important that we build bridges between people to promote unity.”