Donald Trump has said that being pregnant is an "inconvenience" for employers and “maybe women should feel” pressure to come back to work soon after childbirth to retain their jobs.
In a 2004 interview with NBC’s Dateline, the Republican nominee in the 2016 US election campaign said that carrying a child is “a wonderful thing for the woman, it's a wonderful thing for the husband, it's certainly an inconvenience for a business. And whether people want to say that or not, the fact is it is an inconvenience for a person that is running a business.”
He was being interviewed about Carolyn Kepcher, a mainstay on his reality television show The Apprentice ahead of her book release, Carolyn 101.
Ms Kepcher said she did not tell Mr Trump she was pregnant until after six months as she was concerned he would find someone to replace her or think it would be “a long nine months” to work with her.
“Maybe in my mind he might think this would perhaps be a setback or 'maybe I'm going to have to bring somebody in to replace her throughout her pregnancy or when she takes maternity leave,'” she said.
Questioned separately on whether Ms Kepcher came back to work just three weeks after giving birth because she was worried she would be replaced, Mr Trump replied: “No. Although it’s an interesting premise. Maybe she should feel that way a little bit but the fact is that would not have happened.”
Mr Trump told Fox Business’ presenter Stuart Varney last October that “you have to be careful with” paid family leave as it could risk keeping the US “competitive”.
He has yet to release his official plans around women in the workplace.
“You know, she had a baby like five days ago,” Mr Trump said on 27 March, which was 10 days after she had given birth. ”She did a good job. So I should not say Ivanka, you're fired, right? I promise.”
Speaking this week in North Dakota after he had clinched the Republican nomination, he responded to a question about women’s issues by saying he would like to see television networks give their profits to women’s health issues.
He has made the same comment about veterans’ charities several times.