Trump's team asks the State Department for information about all gender-related programs
According to a new report from the Washington Post, President-elect Donald Trump's transition team asked the State Department to turn over all information regarding the department's positions and programs dedicated to a range of women's and gender issues around the world.
The request, obtained by the Washington Post, asked for offices to disclose information specifically on existing programs and activities that "promote gender equality, such as ending gender-based violence, promoting women's participation in economic and political spheres, entrepreneurship, etc." by 5 p.m. Wednesday.
The request comes just more than a week after Trump's team asked the Energy Department to identify specific employees who have been involved in international climate talks, which the Energy Department flatly refused to do.
But according to the Post, the State Department complied, indeed offering up information on gender-related programs. Already, department officials are worried about what the information could lead Trump and his administration to do. Though this request didn't ask for specific employees, it did ask about positions that focus on gender issues.
"It's not clear to us what the intent is behind this request," a State Department official told the Washington Post. "The Trump team could be looking to advance gender issues and make it a priority — or you could look at it as a witch hunt."
Members of Congress themselves are alarmed as well, with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., issuing a statement on the request on Thursday, writing that "the transition team should clarify their intent."
"These are vital foreign policy programs that promote stability, peace and development around the world," the statement read. "I pledge to work with the incoming Administration to advance policies that support and protect women and girls worldwide, but I can promise that if the next administration intends to roll back programs designed to lift women up, it will very quickly meet stiff opposition in the Senate."
During the campaign, Trump's major positions involving gender relations included wanting to defund Planned Parenthood and overhauling child care. Regarding the idea of equal pay for women, Trump has said, "You're going to make the same if you do as good of a job."
Meanwhile, during Hillary Clinton's stint as secretary of state, she made gender-related issues a priority, moving the Office of Global Women's Issues to her own personal staff and spearheading multiple programs that would help women living in unsafe countries.
So, that's comforting.
Dec. 22, 2016, 5:11 p.m.: This story has been updated.