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Trump Men Weigh In On What Ivanka Would Do If Sexually Harassed

Ivanka Trump and her brother Eric Trump during a commercial break of a Republican presidential debate last year.
Andrew Harnik
Ivanka Trump and her brother Eric Trump during a commercial break of a Republican presidential debate last year.

What would Ivanka Trump do if she were sexually harassed on the job?

GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump says she would quit.

"I would like to think she would find another career or find another company if that was the case," Donald Trump told Kirsten Powers in a USA Today column published Monday.

On "CBS This Morning," Charlie Rose asked Trump's son Eric about his dad's sexual harassment comments. The younger Trump back-pedaled a bit — implying that any type of harassment is unacceptable.

"There is no question that obviously it should be addressed and it should be addressed strongly. And, hey, listen, we all run a company, my father runs a company, we take this — that is a absolute no-go anywhere, and that's very much the case," he said.

But, Eric Trump also defended his dad, saying his sister Ivanka would not "allow herself to be subjected" to sexual harassment.

"I think what he's saying is, you know, Ivanka is a strong, powerful woman, she wouldn't allow herself to be objected to it, and by the way, you should certainly take it up with Human Resources, and I think she definitely would as a strong person," said Eric Trump. "At the same time, I don't think she would allow herself to be subjected to that. I think that's a point he was making, and I think he did so well."

Critics were quick to point out that Donald Trump's proper response should have included a nod to workplace laws and human resource tools.

"His response is sort of vintage 1980s — that harassment is just something that's going to happen ... and you as the victim figure out what's going to work for you," said Joanna Grossman, a law professor at Hofstra University who's written extensively on workplace culture and harassment. "But, of course, we've moved beyond that — the law has moved beyond that."

Sure, the "What Would Ivanka Do" question is mostly a hypothetical scenario; she is a wealthy entrepreneur with her own fashion company. But, it's a hypothetical that sheds some light on how the men in the Trump family view workplace sexual harassment.

"Leaving a job, maybe that's not a big deal for someone from a wealthy family with connections and resources, but for an an average person — being forced to quit your job or find a new job because you have a harassing boss or a harassing coworker is a completely unreasonable expectation," said Grossman.

This whole conversation began with allegations that former Fox executive Roger Ailes sexually harassed multiple women, including anchor Megyn Kelly and former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson.

Grossman says Trump's starting point seems antiquated — the focus should be on Fox, not the victims.

Fox's Megyn Kelly responded to Eric Trump's comment, simply tweeting "sigh":

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Asma Khalid is a White House correspondent for NPR. She also co-hosts The NPR Politics Podcast.
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