Donald Trump Says He Gives His Workers Child Care. His Workers Say That’s Baloney.
Donald Trump has boasted that he provides child care to his employees. “I do it all over, and I get great people because of it,” he said in November.
But an extensive review from The Daily Beast could find no evidence that this was true.
It’s an issue that Trump made politically important this week. During a marquee economic speech on Monday, Donald Trump promised a plan to help “low- and middle-income Americans” by “reduc[ing] the cost of child care.”
For starters, parents would be able “to fully deduct the average cost of child care spending from their taxes,” Trump said. But more programs to help parents would be coming soon.
“As part of this new future, we will also be rolling out proposals to increase choice and reduce cost in child care, offering much-needed relief to American families. I will unveil my plan on this in the coming weeks that I have been working on with my daughter Ivanka and an incredible team of experts.”
In the past, Trump has suggested that his businesses have provided these sorts of benefits and resources to families and their children. And that doing so, was a simple task.
At a November town hall in Iowa, Trump said providing on-site child care “is something that can be done, I think, very easily by a company.”
Trump went on to describe two specific programs called “Trump Kids” and “Trumpateers,” which according to reporting from the AP are not for employees but rather guests of his hotels and golf club.
“It’s not expensive for a company to do it,” Trump added. “You need one person or two people, and you need some blocks and you need some swings and some toys. You know, surely, it’s not expensive. It’s not an expensive thing.”
But even though Trump sees these services as “easy” and inexpensive, he does not appear to have them at his own businesses despite statements to the contrary.
Multiple current staffers for the Trump Organization did not respond to questions about the child services at the company. But according to New York’s Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS), there is no licensed child care facility in Trump Tower, where the Trump Organization is headquartered. A representative from the OCFS told The Daily Beast that even small company day cares would have to be licensed. Anecdotally, there is no evidence of there being one either.
Al Kare, a waiter in one of the cafes at Trump’s Taj Mahal casino, told The Daily Beast that he and the mother of his children had to work split shifts to be able to take care of their kids while maintaining a steady stream of income.
“We were never provided any form of child care or any benefits,” Kare said. He’s worked there for 20 years and said they did not offer paid maternity leave.
“I work Taj as my main job. I work banquets. Now I cut trees,” Kare said. “Why? Just to take care of my family. You have to work like that. Like an animal.”
It is Trump policy across the board that employees—from interns to golf course valets to executives—sign non-disclosure agreements which limit their ability to share information about the services that were and were not provided.
Due to the signed agreements, Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida refused to answer questions from The Daily Beast, but a former valet said he only recalled services for guests, rather than employees.
“I know Barron had a ton of nannies,” he said referring to Trump’s youngest son. “One or two. More than me when I was a kid.”
Trump claimed in a 2015 interview that he did not have nannies for Barron, because “if you have too much help, you don’t get to know your children.”
At the Trump Organization, the answers were similarly murky. One former staffer said she got no special resources as a pregnant woman. And Barbara Res, who ran Trump’s construction projects in the ’80s and ’90s, said that at the time, the company didn’t even have an HR department.
When asked if she felt comfortable working there while she had children, Res told The Daily Beast, “That’s kind of a loaded question because I’m a workaholic.”
“I had nannies and everything; it was a while ago, people didn’t talk about this sort of thing,” she said. “It was just the beginning of whether it was legal to fire a pregnant person.”
Carolyn Kepcher, the former executive vice president for Trump Golf Properties, described in her book Working Mother how she cobbled together her own child care system while working out of the club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
After taking only three weeks for maternity leave, Kepcher returned to her demanding schedule, leaning on her husband, who had flexible work hours, her sister, and a team of babysitters to assist in the daily child care duties. Kepcher is the woman about whom Trump said that pregnancy was an “inconvenience” to employers.
At the time, Kepcher told an interviewer that she felt “comfortable” returning when she did. And when Trump was asked if he thought she might feel pressured to return quickly, he initially said no, then added: “Maybe she should feel that way a little bit. But the fact is that would not have happened.”
Another former project manager, Dalya Ebrahimian, said that the organization was nothing but accommodating. But she too could not recall what particular services were provided.
“When I was working there, I wasn’t pregnant, so I don’t really know,” she said. “I didn’t have any reason to pay attention.”
One former Trump Organization intern told The Daily Beast that there was no day care when he worked there in 2011.
“I think very rarely if ever, maybe an employee brought a kid for the day, but I don’t remember there being a big kid presence,” the former intern said.
In other instances, former Trump employees scoffed at the suggestion that they would get child care services.
“No child care! No one had kids haha definitely no child care,” Gemma Hamilton, a model for Trump Models from 2003 to 2013, told The Daily Beast in an email, when asked about on-site services for the agency’s employees.
The situation for working parents is no better in Trump’s casinos, including the Taj Mahal in New Jersey, which is set to close soon.
“What my husband and I did, we had to switch shifts,” Myra Gonzalez, a pastry chef at the casino, explained to The Daily Beast. “We just switched shifts. It was tough on the relationship. It was a tough time. He never supplied us with any child care.”
Bethany Khan, the director of communications for the the Culinary Workers Union Local 226, told The Daily Beast that “workers at Trump Hotel Las Vegas do not have child care benefits as part of the employee benefits package.”
To be sure, it’s rare for private-sector employers to provide child care assistance. According to Department of Labor Statistics from 2006, only 15 percent did. A Bureau of Labor Statistics report from 2015 found a big discrepancy between the availability of workplace-funded child care in state and local government jobs compared to private industry jobs. It’s strange then that Trump would suggest that this is commonplace in his company with little to no evidence suggesting that it’s true.
For her part, Ivanka Trump, (who helped inspire this new policy initiative) offers her smaller brand team eight weeks of paid maternity leave. While the company doesn’t offer in-house child care either, its policy does provide more flexibility for people with children. “We focus on results rather than face time,” a spokesperson for Ivanka’s brand told The Daily Beast. “We are supportive of all working moms who some days may need or choose to work from home.”
At least Trump has someone around who knows what she’s talking about.