White House council for women and girls goes dark under Trump

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The administration is evaluating whether to keep the office, created under President Barack Obama to focus on gender equality.

When President George W. Bush took office, he quickly and quietly disbanded President Bill Clinton’s Office for Women’s Initiatives and Outreach — and now President Donald Trump appears to be doing the same thing to President Barack Obama’s White House Council on Women and Girls.

The council, created by Obama in 2009 to monitor the impact of policy changes and liaise with women’s groups has been defunct while the Trump administration evaluates whether to keep it, according to three senior White House officials.

“We want the input of the various agencies to understand the assets they have so that we make this office additive, not redundant,” said White House spokeswoman Hope Hicks.

She added that the White House “is evaluating the best positioning of this office going forward (and other legacy Obama offices)” and flagged other policy initiatives, including adviser Ivanka Trump’s push for paid family leave and STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education for girls, that will address gender disparities.

But veterans of Obama’s White House say the existence of a robust office supporting women and girls sends a strong message about the president’s priorities — and that the lack of such an office does as well.

The issue is acute for Trump, whose campaign took a hit after the release last October of him bragging on tape to former “Access Hollywood” host Billy Bush about grabbing women by the genitals. On Thursday, he faced fresh backlash by both Republican and Democratic lawmakers for a vulgar tweet he fired off against MSNBC anchor Mika Brzezinski, whom he claimed was “bleeding badly from a face-lift.”

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