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Trump in 2004: Pregnancy Is an 'Inconvenience' to Employers

In an October 2004 interview with NBC’s Dateline, Trump said pregnancy is "an inconvenience for a business."
Image: Donald Trump waves to the crowd as he arrives at a rally
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Anaheim Convention Center on May 25, 2016, in Anaheim, Calif.Jae C. Hong / AP

Donald Trump has said that pregnancy is “wonderful" – unless you’re an employer.

In an October 2004 interview with NBC’s Dateline, Trump said pregnancy 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.”

That interview, called “Blonde Ambition," highlighted then-Trump Golf Properties Executive Vice President and Apprentice boardroom mainstay Carolyn Kepcher and focused on all things Carolyn – her book, her career, and her advice for female executives. Trump, her boss at the time, was interviewed in that capacity.

Kepcher -- who Trump fondly called a “killer” in her book "Carolyn 101" and spoke about her intelligence and “cunning” at other points in the interview -- recalled to NBC in the Dateline interview that she waited until she was six months pregnant and showing before informing her boss.

Despite describing herself as a “straight shooter,” Kepcher told Dateline that waiting to tell her boss about her pregnancy was not a moment that exemplified that description. “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,’” Kepcher said in the 2004 interview. “If I tell him at six months,” she thought, “it will be over in three months.”

Kepcher took three weeks off after giving birth and then came back part time after that, a decision she told Dateline she was “comfortable” with — and one Trump says he didn’t think was because she felt pressured by him. When asked then if he thought she felt pressure to come back so quickly, Trump said he didn’t think so but was because “she loves her job.” When asked if her fast return may have been based in a worry that she’d be replaced, Trump responded “no” before adding that “it’s an interesting premise” and “maybe she should feel that way a little bit. But the fact is that would not have happened.”

Kepcher did not respond to NBC’s multiple requests for comment and a Donald Trump spokesperson did not return a request for comment on the past remarks.

Trump rarely speaks on the campaign trail about women in the workplace or related policy issues, such as paid family leave. And he has yet to release any official policy plans on the matter. However in October of 2015, as a candidate, Trump told Fox Business’ Stuart Varney, “you have to be careful with” paid family leave because it could impact keeping “our country very competitive” but “certainly there are a lot of people discussing it.”

And while pregnancy-related policy has been nonexistent in Trump’s stump speech talking points, it was in the spotlight when his own daughter gave birth earlier this year. Ivanka, who gave birth on March 27, was back on the campaign trail within two weeks, appearing with her father at a rally in Bethpage, New York. "You know, she had a baby like 5 days ago,” Trump praised her during the rally, which was actually held 10 days after Ivanka gave birth. “She did a good job. So I should not say Ivanka, you're fired, right? I promise.”

Despite the lack of policy, the Republican front runner does, however, believe he’ll win among women come November, promising crowds in early May that he’d be the best candidate for women on women’s health issues.

“Nobody will be better to women and nobody will be better to women’s health issues — a big thing — than Donald Trump. That I can tell you. Nobody,” Trump swore. He did not outline specifically what women’s health issues he would focus on that would make him the best, though he did tick off several broad issue areas that he thinks helped him earn women voters in states like New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland. "I won with women because, you know what? Women want to see a strong country. Women want to see a strong military. Women want to see strong borders.”

According to the latest NBC/WSJ poll, 63% of those polled said that Hillary Clinton would be best at dealing with issues of concern to women, while only 16% of voters felt that way about Trump.