A former field organizer for Donald Trump's presidential campaign has accused Trump's campaign of gender discrimination, according to The New York Times. In a complaint filed with the Davenport Civil Rights Commission, Elizabeth Davidson alleged that she was paid less than her male counterparts during her time with the Trump campaign and fired for speaking to the media when her male colleagues faced no such repercussions. Trump and his campaign deny the allegations.
"These claims from a disgruntled former part-time employee are without merit," Trump spokesperson Hope Hicks told Bustle. "She is in violation of her contract and continues to disparage the campaign with falsehoods, which, in addition to doing a terrible job, is why she was terminated weeks ago."
Speaking to The Washington Post, Trump called Davidson's claims "totally made up," and said Davidson was "a very disgruntled employee."
Davidson was an organizer for the Trump campaign in Davenport, the third-largest city in Iowa, and she helped establish the campaign's second-ever field office in the state. She claimed she was paid $2,000 for what was a part-time position as a "district representative" for the Trump campaign, while public filings unearthed by the Times found that numerous men with the same job title were paid up to twice as much during the same period.
On Jan. 13, the Times published an article describing Davidson as "one of the campaign's most effective organizers." The next day, she was fired. It's unclear from the phrasing of the article whether Davidson actually spoke to the Times for the piece, but Trump told The Washington Post that she violated her confidentiality agreement by speaking to the media and denied having any recollection of her.
"She was fired for cause," Trump said. "She'd like to be back with the campaign but they don't want her. And I just don't know who she is. I have no idea."
Davidson's complaint contained a few more allegations. She claimed that her requests to plan rallies and speak at them were rejected, but they were granted to men in her same position. She also claimed that, when she first met Trump over the summer, he glanced at her and another woman volunteering for the campaign and said, "You guys could do a lot of damage," in reference to their physical looks. Trump told The Washington Post that Davidson made this up, adding that he's "heard a lot worse phrases than that."
Trump also bashed the Times for even running the story about Davidson's complaint, calling it "a disgrace" to publish it a day before the Iowa caucuses. In the latest poll, Trump leads the rest of the Republican field in the state by five percentage points.