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Ivanka Trump took the spotlight to introduce her father, President Trump, as he accepted his nomination during the fourth night of the Republican National Committee Convention. Many were wondering if she would speak about an issue that impacts so many of her fellow American mothers: childcare, and on that she did not disappoint.
As a mom and a Senior Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump has previously spoken passionately about the importance of childcare, something that did not get as much airtime during previous parts of the RNC as some parents had hoped.
And so when Ivanka addressed the country as her stepmother did earlier this week, people were waiting to hear if President Trump's oldest daughter would have some words about the childcare crisis that unfolding parallel to the pandemic. It's an issue she discussed—along with other so-called "women's issues", like paid leave— quite a bit prior to her father's election in 2016 and one she now says she's proud to have made progress on.
"Four years ago, I told you my father would focus on making childcare affordable and accessible," she stated. "In President Trump's first term, we secured the largest-ever increase for childcare funding, giving more than 800,000 low-income families great childcare at a cost they can afford."
Making sure 800,000 low-income families have access to childcare is certainly laudable, but unfortunately, that still leaves millions of families out. A 2019 report by the Institute for Child, Youth and Family Policy found day care unaffordable (so costing more than 7% of a family's income) for the majority of parents who work full-time, and especially for low-income, Black and Hispanic parents.
And that was before the pandemic of 2020 made finding and paying for childcare even harder. Ivanka Trump made some good points in her speech Thursday night, but so did her father's opponent, Joe Biden, when he announced his plan for free preschool and affordable childcare last month. How Biden's plan stacks up against Trump's accomplishments in this area will be for voters to decide.
Of course, childcare isn't the only thing that's hard for parents right now. Education is a big issue for many families, especially since the pandemic, something Ivanka touched on in her speech.
"I am more certain than ever before that we want a future where our kids can believe in American greatness. We want a society where every child can live in a safe community and go to a great school of their choice," she stated, echoing several previous speakers at the RNC.
Along with childcare and education, paid leave is a top concern for parents in the United States these days.
It's something Ivanka has been publicly pushing for years (and something that most parents in the United States are still, unfortunately, doing without).
"Four years ago, I promised that President Trump would support mothers in the workforce. In his first year in office, he signed into law the first-ever National Paid Leave Tax Credit. Today, 8 million more Americans have access to this benefit," she stated.
A month from now, in October 2020, federal employees of all genders who have worked for the government at least a year will be able to take 12 weeks paid leave after the birth or adoption of a child. But so many parents who don't work for the federal government can't do that.
As we near November it should be noted that most Americans want paid family leave because it would help babies, fathers and mothers (and that would help the whole country). Ivanka Trump is right to keep pushing for it, and it's likely voters will, too.
Ivanka's father and his opponent and each of their respective parties can point to bits of legislation and progress on the road to November, but in the end, it will be voters who decide whether they've done enough and whether they can be trusted to do more.