John Kelly: Family Care Isn't Part of the White House's Agenda

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Remember when Donald Trump told Piers Morgan that he wouldn’t consider himself a feminist? And we all kind of waited for the punchline? This is a lot like that.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly—the same guy who has defended domestic abuser and former White House aide Rob Porter—has apparently privately derided Ivanka Trump’s effort to legislate mandatory paid family leave as a “pet project” and said he “doesn’t understand how it fits into the White House’s agenda,” per a report from Axios published Sunday.

How terrifically depressing and unsurprising. From Axios:

  • What’s next: A White House official told me this tension came to a head a few weeks ago. The official told me the issue is being “hammered out internally” and Kelly approved a policy process to work through the issue.
  • To be fair to Ivanka, paid family leave is not a rogue endeavor, even though much of the White House considers it a non-starter. I’m told she coordinates any meeting she has on Capitol Hill with the White House’s Office of Legislative Affairs.

In an interview with Politico last summer, Florida Senator Marco Rubio emphasized his support for Ivanka’s plan, even while noting that Republicans would likely be reticent to embrace it. “We still have to work on members of my own party,” Rubio said. “I think there will be significant initial resistance to it, because it’s just not an issue that’s been identified with the Republican Party.” (In Rubio’s asinine imagined version of the policy, parents would have to draw Social Security benefits when they’re ready to take leave for a baby.)

Other senators, including Mike Lee and Joni Ernst, have publicly supported Ivanka’s plan.