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At a conference about women in the workplace, Blackstone Group founder and CEO Steve Schwarzman was asked about what President Donald Trump was doing for women.
Things got awkward.
Schwarzman, a close friend and ally to the president, initially hesitated before largely talking around the question, redirecting the focus to the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and placing the burden on Congress.
“What is your long-term view on what President Trump is doing for women,” a moderator asked Schwarzman on stage this week at The Wall Street Journal’s Women in the Workplace conference.
“Geez,” Schwarzman responded, stammering for several seconds before gathering a response.
“The leader in the administration is Ivanka Trump. She’s got a whole agenda of things to do for women. She’s quite aggressive, in a lovely way, to try and press that agenda.
“I’m not an administrative spokesman, I’m just here for women’s event. I think there’s a real focus by her and responsiveness actually by her father to that. ”
Trump has often come under fire regarding his treatment of women, the most serious instances including allegations of sexual assault and the vulgar “Billy Bush” audio recording in which he described groping women. He’s called the allegations fabrications and passed off the audio recording as “locker room talk.”
As recently as last week, he came under fire for rolling back rules requiring employers to provide women birth control, provided it contradicts their religious or moral beliefs.
Schwarzman has lauded Ivanka’s policy proposals in the past, writing an Op-Ed in The Wall Street Journal over the summer endorsing her plan to expand paid family leave benefits for new parents.
When the moderator followed up with Schwarzman about the timeline for Ivanka Trump’s agenda to show some results, Schwarzman deflected responsibility to Congress.
“Some of that’s really stuff that the Congress has to do,” Schwarzman said. “The US Congress has found some pretty unique ways to not accomplish things.”
You can watch the exchange below:
— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) October 11, 2017