WASHINGTON — Press secretary Sean Spicer discussed the White House’s reaction to the “A Day Without a Woman” protests taking place around the country at his daily briefing on Wednesday. Organizers said the protests were designed to highlight “the economic power and significance that women have” and raise awareness of “the economic injustices women and gender-nonconforming people continue to face.” The organizers encouraged women to go on strike and “refrain from paid and unpaid work” as part of the protests, which were held on International Women’s Day.
Yahoo News asked Spicer about the protests at the briefing. He highlighted a pair of tweets President Trump sent earlier on Wednesday that encouraged people to mark the holiday by “honoring the critical role of women here in America and around the world.” Spicer also suggested that the Trump administration hopes to help honor women every day, rather than on a special occasion.
“Obviously, as the president stated today, we want to recognize the contributions that women make to our businesses to our families, to our economy, to our society,” said Spicer. “You know, it’s a free country. People have the right to express themselves, but I think that we should on a daily basis — not just one day a year, but 365 days a year — appreciate the contributions that women make in all of those categories. … Hopefully, we can help fix that a little bit more.”
The protest Wednesday included demonstrations around the country and in front of the White House. It was organized by the same group that put together the massive women’s marches on Jan. 21, the day after Trump’s inauguration. While neither of these protests were explicitly focused on Trump, they featured extensive criticism of his policies and past comments about women.
Yahoo News also asked Spicer whether he was aware of any White House staffers who had skipped work to participate in the women’s strike.
“I am not aware of any that are not here,” Spicer said with a laugh. “I think everyone that I’m aware of has shown up and is working really hard to advance the president’s agenda. They’re committed to moving this country forward.”
The White House marked International Women’s Day with a luncheon in the State Dining Room hosted by first lady Melania Trump.
Later on in the briefing, Spicer was also asked about school closures that have occurred as a result of school employees participating in Wednesday’s strike. Spicer suggested that any parent who had concerns about teachers or other school staff participating in a strike should raise them with “their local school boards and through their city councils and mayors.” He further indicated that both people’s “right to express themselves” and the adverse impact of a strike on schools should be considered.
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“I have not spoken to the president about this, but I think there’s a balance,” Spicer said of the school closures.
“I would hope that we should use this opportunity to recognize the role of women in the workplace, in the family and throughout society, through the contributions that they continue to make and have made in the past,” he added.
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