Late-night host Samantha Bee this week gave a positive shout-out to Ivanka Trump, whom she once called a “feckless c—,” for Ivanka’s work helping pass a parental leave law that allows federal workers to take up to 12 weeks off after they have a child.
The expanded-leave provision was part of the National Defense Authorization Act, which passed in December.
“After decades of being behind every other country, the U.S is finally starting to make progress, thanks, in part, to lobbying from, believe it or not, Ivanka Trump,” Bee, 50, said on Wednesday’s episode of Full Frontal. “This administration approved a law that gives 12 weeks of paid leave to federal employees who give birth, adopt or foster a child.”
“I guess even a Trump has to do something right occasionally,” she added before quipping, “Eric [Trump] doesn’t start fires anymore.”
Bee faced backlash two years ago when she called White House aide Ivanka a “feckless c–t” in her opening monologue during a June 2018 episode about President Donald Trump‘s divisive immigration policies — specifically separating families who crossed the border together.
The host’s comment, itself in response to what Ivanka critics said was her own hypocrisy in staying silent over her dad’s immigration controversy, drew the ire of White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
Sanders said at the time that Bee’s “disgusting comments and show are not fit for broadcast.”
President Trump, at the ready, also jumped into the fray on Twitter. “Why aren’t they firing no talent Samantha Bee for the horrible language used on her low ratings show?” he wrote. “A total double standard.”
The comment reportedly left Ivanka “more angry than hurt,” and Bee soon apologized.
“A lot of people were offended and angry that I used an epithet to describe the president’s daughter and adviser last week. It is a word I have used on the show many times, hoping to reclaim it. But this time I used it as an insult. I crossed the line. I regret it and I do apologize for it,” Bee said.
“The problem is that many women have heard that word at the worst moments of their lives, and a lot of them don’t want that word reclaimed — they want it gone. And I don’t blame them. I don’t want to inflict more pain on them. I want this show to be challenging and I want it to be honest,” she said before joking: “I never intended it to hurt anyone except Ted Cruz.
(“Many men were also offended by my use of the word, I do not care about that,” she added.)
Bee also announced during Wednesday’s show that her staff would now be receiving 20 weeks of full pay for new moms and primary caregivers. She challenged other late-night shows to do the same.
“We are so sure that our policy is better than the other late-night shows, we challenge them to make better policies so we can beat those, too,” Bee said.
On Thursday, Ivanka, 38, responded to Bee.
“Differences aside, I respect your decision to offer Paid Leave to your employees and hope this encourages your Late Night competitors to do the same,” she tweeted on Thursday.
Differences aside, I respect your decision to offer Paid Leave to your employees and hope this encourages your Late Night competitors to do the same.https://t.co/rJEE3F4Eut— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) January 23, 2020
The U.S. is behind most of the world when it comes to paid parental leave and the new Trump-sponsored bill only applies to federal workers.
“We urgently need to catch up in the United States,” Jody Heymann, the founding director of the World Policy Analysis Center at UCLA, told NPR in a report about paid parental leave. “For a high-income country, we have some of the worst outcomes for our infants. We have some of the highest rates of infant mortality. We have huge health inequalities.”