Donald Trump: “A story like this could damage my chances.”
A former paid field organizer for the Trump Campaign has filed a sex discrimination complaint against the campaign. According to the New York Times, the organizer, 26 year old Elizabeth Mae Davidson, claims that men doing the same jobs were paid more and were allowed to plan and speak at rallies, while her requests to do so were ignored. The complaint also alleges that when she and a young female volunteer met Donald Trump at a rally, he said “You guys could do a lot of damage,” referring to their looks. The Times reports that Trump denied making the remark in a telephone interview, but did not address the other two allegations:
“That is not the worst thing that could be said,” Mr. Trump said. “But I never said it. It’s not in my vocabulary.”
He added that he did not know Ms. Davidson but that in checking with his staff, he was told she was a disgruntled employee. “My people tell me she did a terrible job.”
He criticized The New York Times for reporting the complaint the day before the caucuses, adding, “A story like this could damage my chances.”
Ms. Davidson says in the complaint that her damages include lost wages, mental anguish and damage to her career:
Ms. Davidson was described in The Times article as being one of the campaign’s most effective organizers and was quoted as she tried to enlist volunteers during a Trump rally in Ottumwa on Jan. 9. Elsewhere in the article, the campaign was described as “amateurish and halting, committing basic organizing errors.”
Ms. Davidson’s complaint states that men with the same job title — district representatives — were quoted in news accounts without being fired. It says she was the only woman with that title and that men with the same title were paid more.
In an interview, Ms. Davidson said she was paid $2,000 a month and was classified as part-time because she also had a job as a paralegal. But she said another district representative, Marc Elcock, was paid more though he, too, has a day job, as a lawyer.
According to public filings, several men who held the same title, including Mr. Elcock, were paid $3,500 to $4,000 a month.
Ms. Davidson, recruited volunteer organizers for most of her region’s 63 precincts and opened a Trump campaign field office, only the second in the state. Ms. Davidson says she was told she was fired for making “disparaging comments about senior campaign leaders to third parties” and breaking a nondisclosure clause in her employment contract. She was fired the day after another Times article revealed problems with the Trump campaign’s senior Iowa leadership. The references to Ms. Davidson in that article don’t seem to suggest that she said anything untoward.
According to Reuters, A spokeswoman for Trump, said the campaign had not been notified that a complaint had been filed. “These claims from a disgruntled former part-time employee are without merit,” Hicks said. “She is in violation of her contract and continues to disparage the campaign with falsehoods, which, in addition to doing a terrible job, is why she was terminated weeks ago.”
With the Donald’s existing Women problem, he is correct that a story like this — a sex discrimination case, could damage his chances. The Los Angeles Times reports that when CNN asked voters whether they had a favorable or unfavorable impression of Trump, men were almost evenly split: 44% favorable, 47% unfavorable. But a striking 64% of women said they did not like him.
In the LA Times article, Doyle McManus suggests Trump’s women problem might be the result of the insults he sprays at opponents — male and female alike, the persistent appearance of misogyny, that called Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly a “bimbo” and said she had “blood coming out of her wherever,” the note he sent to a New York Times columnist telling her she had “the face of a dog,” or Trump’s very ungentlemanly comments about Carly Fiorina.