CBS spoke to 19 women who worked for Trump, and they were full of praise

(CBS NEWS) -- “I have huge respect for the Trump family,” said Jaclyn Groenen, a mom who used to work for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and lives in the Philadelphia suburbs, “but I hate to tell you that because I don’t think he should be president,” she said.

From 2006 to 2008, Groenen ran a merchandise store in Trump Tower. She said she dealt with Trump and his children, and she found them to be both respectful and hard workers, regularly starting their day with 7:30am meetings. Although she said she’s going to support Hillary Clinton for the presidency, she says working for Trump, in part, got her to her most recent job as a buyer for a major department store.

Groenen is one of 84 women CBS News tracked down around the country who worked for the Trump Organization at some point in the last 35 years, ranging from interns to executives.  
Most women we reached out to didn’t want to talk.  Forty-three did not respond, and another 19 said they would not comment on their experiences -- positive or negative -- on or off the record.  Four said the experience was too short to form an opinion. 

But 19 women did speak to CBS News about their experiences, and they paint a mixed picture of what it was like to be a female employee in the Trump Organization.  Most of the women spoke positively about their time there, and almost all said that having the name Trump on their resume had been a boost to their careers. At the same time, several described a culture where women were judged and promoted, at least in part, based on their looks. The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

However, the Republican nominee has said more than once during the campaign, “Nobody has more respect for women than I do.”

In a 2008 interview with CBS News about women in the workplace, Trump praised the women he’s hired over the years.

“Women are doing very, very well in my company and in virtually all companies. They’re tough, they’re smart, they’re competitive – they really are a force,” he said. “And they talk about the glass ceiling -- I believe they’ve broken that glass ceiling many, many times over.”

Throughout the 1990’s Joanne Blank was one of the first woman-owned certified businesses in the state of New York. Blank says that Trump contracted with her company to manage vendors and contracts on Trump’s construction and renovation projects. 

“He wasn’t the only hotshot I worked for, but he was a damn good one,” Blank told CBS News. 

She said she interacted with him regularly and recalled a night when she needed to be at a function for one of her children and asked Trump for permission to arrive the following morning for a key meeting, instead of traveling the night before.  She said she appreciated that he had no problem with that.  Blank says the Billy Bush tape wasn’t appropriate but said, “I heard him yell and scream, but I never heard him call anyone a bimbo.  I never heard him demean anyone,” she said. 

More: Expand this story and read more at CBSNEWS.com


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