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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds up a child he pulled from the crowd as he arrives to speak at a campaign rally in New Orleans, Friday, March 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Conservative and liberal critics think Trump's new maternity leave policy is kinda sexist


Conservative and liberal critics think Trump's new maternity leave policy is kinda sexist

WATCH  | Both Republicans and Democrats criticize Trump's new child care plan.

Trump's plan excludes dads

Donald Trump once again displayed his penchant for the unexpected on Tuesday, proposing a child care policy that looked more like it was created by a progressive Democrat than by a Republican nominee.

Among other things, Trump's proposed child care policy included a provision that would require all businesses to provide six weeks of paid leave for new mothers. The plan also included tax credits for stay-at-home moms, as well as other child care credits.

One demographic, however, was missing from Trump's childcare plan: Dads.

Liberals: Trump's plan 'woefully weak'

The fact that Trump's child care plan was moms-only predictably angered some on the left side of the political spectrum.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) told Circa she preferred Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's plan, which includes 12 weeks of paid maternity and paternity leave.

"I'm glad Donald Trump is talking about child care and maternity care, but his plan is woefully weak," she said. "We have fathers who are caregivers, as well as mothers who are caregivers." 

'His biggest insult to women yet'

Emily Peck, an editor at the left-leaning Huffington Post, went even further,  calling Trump's maternity leave plan "his biggest insult to women yet." 

"Omitting half the population is [the plan's] profoundest and most revelatory flaw, confirming once again Trump's antiquated, sexist and harmful worldview: Men work. Women do the child-raising. The end," Peck wrote. 

Conservatives also not thrilled

Conservatives didn't seem thrilled about Trump's plan either, mostly because it's not the type of policy they tend to go for.  Requiring businesses to purchase insurance plans that include maternity leave coverage is just that -- a requirement for businesses, dictated by the government.

"Republicans are supposed to be against mandates," said Richard Rahn, chairman of the Institute for Global Economic Growth and a former adviser to President Ronald Reagan. "This is a mandate. It reduces economic freedom."

'It increases the cost of employing women'

Rahn also said he believed Trump's policy was discriminatory toward women -- not because he believed dads should have paid leave too, but because if only women are impacted by the plan, business owners might be reluctant to hire them.

"It increases the cost of employing women," he said. "Many small employers would have difficulty giving a woman six weeks off. Going without her for six weeks could be a huge burden to the company."

Temptation to discriminate in hiring

Even though gender discrimination in hiring is illegal, Rahn said the policy increases the temptation of small business owners to discriminate.

He laid out a scenario where a business owner has two equally qualified candidates for a job -- one male and one female -- and the owner knows she'll be required to pay for maternity leave if the female employee decides to have a baby.

"Gender discrimination is illegal, but implicitly, it's very hard to measure these things," Rahn said.

Props for trying, though

Still, the fact that a Republican candidate even proposed a child care plan was noteworthy to some progressives.

Even though she criticized the plan as a whole, the Center for American Progress' senior director of early childhood policy, Katie Hamm, said she's rarely seen a Republican candidate talk about child care.

"It's not something we often see conservatives embracing," she said. "I think as these issues become more salient to voters, it's something we'll probably see more and more of."

Conservative and liberal critics think Trump's new maternity leave policy is kinda sexist

WATCH  | Katie Hamm at the Center for American Progress talks about Trump's child care plan.

Trump's response to criticism: none yet

Trump's campaign did not immediately return Circa's request for comment. We'll update this article if we hear back.

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