Throughout the 2016 election season, the presidential campaign of New York real-estate mogul Donald Trump has been the largest target for pundits and passersby alike. Jokey criticism aside, however, Trump’s run for the White House has been plagued with serious criticism since its first day, with no signs of slowing down. Consider the latest charges from a former Trump staffer in Iowa who claims she was paid less because of her gender.
According to The New York Times, Elizabeth Mae Davidson worked for the campaign in Davenport, Iowa, as its field organizer. The 26-year-old was fired in January and has since filed a discrimination complaint with the Davenport Civil Rights Commission. According to Davidson’s complaint:
[Men] doing the same jobs were paid more and were allowed to plan and speak at rallies, while her requests to do so were ignored. She also said that when she and a young female volunteer met Mr. Trump at a rally last summer, he told them, “You guys could do a lot of damage,” referring to their looks.
Davidson added that she was only paid $2,000 per month, and because she also worked elsewhere as a paralegal, her position with the campaign was classified as part-time. However, male colleagues like Marc Elcock, another staffer who also worked at another job as a lawyer, was paid $3,500 to $4,000 per month by the campaign.
When she was fired on Jan. 14, a Times article about how Trump’s efforts in Iowa were lacking in leadership appeared the day before with several quotes from her. Davidson maintains she did nothing wrong in speaking to the press, but her bosses told her she’d made “disparaging comments about senior campaign leaders to third parties” and had therefore broken her contract’s nondisclosure clause.
The Times followed up with Trump in a telephone interview on Sunday, during which the Republican front-runner said, “That is not the worst thing that could be said, but I never said it. It’s not in my vocabulary.” In addition to denying Davidson’s claim, unsurprisingly, the candidate immediately went on the counterattack against his ex-staffer and the paper. (During the same interview with the NYT.)
He added that he did not know Ms. Davidson but that in checking with his staff, he was told she was a disgruntled employee. “My people tell me she did a terrible job.”
He criticized The New York Times for reporting the complaint the day before the caucuses, adding, “A story like this could damage my chances.”
If the Davenport Civil Rights Commission accepts Davidson’s complaint, they will launch an investigation into the campaign offices’ practices in the area. Whether this smaller, specific instance of alleged discrimination has a much wider effect on Trump’s presidential ambitions, however, remains to be seen.