Donald Trump is really testing the limits of irony with this one.
On the campaign trail in Iowa a few months ago, Trump boasted that he provided on-site child care for his employees. But according to Jill Colvin and Catherine Lucey at the Associated Press, this appears to be flatly untrue — Trump has been boasting about child care programs that are only available for guests of his hotels and golf clubs, not staff.
In Iowa last November, Trump cited two programs, "Trump Kids" and "Trumpeteers," as examples of child care services offered at his hotel. Yet both of these are programs offered to patrons of Trump’s luxury properties, the AP reports — not workers:
"Trump Kids" is described on the Trump Hotel Collection website as "a special travel program designed to help make your next family vacation a big hit." Its offerings include "kid-friendly amenities like kiddie cocktails, coloring books and no-tear bath amenities."
"The Trumpeteer Program" is described on the website of Trump National Golf Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, as "a program created specifically for our youngest members, ages three to twelve, which offers daily and evening child care, monthly newsletters and weekly events!"
Employees at Trump’s hotels and clubs were confused and surprised when the AP asked them whether their employers provide child care:
Jaramillo is a mother of four children who has worked at the hotel for nearly eight years.
"It would make it much more easy to take our kids to day care at work," she said and laughed when told of Trump's comments from Iowa about child care. "If they have child care, at least they should tell us."
Trump employee handbooks and online benefit guides reviewed by the AP also make no mention of child care.
It’s a rather tone-deaf screw-up from Trump, who has (very) recently turned child care into a major policy proposal for his campaign. It doesn’t help that the child care policy he is now proposing also helps well-off Americans substantially more than low-income families, as Vox’s Libby Nelson explains.
At that same Iowa campaign stop, Trump made remarks suggesting that he doesn’t even really know how child care works. "You know, it's not expensive for a company to do it," Trump said. "You need one person or two people, and you need some blocks, and you need some swings and some toys."
It has seemed pretty abrupt and out of character for Trump to suddenly style himself as the candidate for affordable child care. Child care and other women’s workplace policy issues are more of an Ivanka thing, and Trump has only mentioned child care twice on the campaign trail. And the first time, it turns out, was a major blunder.