Diary

Was Trump's "hypothetical" defense a "tell" ?

In defending his statement that, if abortion were banned, the women should be punished, Trump insisted his statement didn’t mean anything because he was just responding to a “hypothetical”.

“That was a hypothetical question. That was not a wrong answer,” Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity during his show Monday night in Wisconsin. “There were other people that wrote me letters by the hundreds saying that was a great answer to that question the way it was raised.”

I have heard him emphasize that it was “a hypothetical” repeatedly.

Is that defense a “tell”, revealing that he is either (still) pro-choice, or at least would not do seek (via SCOTUS appointments or whatever) to get ban(s) on abortion?

Clearly, if he is really pro-life and really intends to try to at least get Roe overturned so states can decide and wants them to ban abortion, it makes no sense for him to dismiss his view regarding whether or not women should be punished as insignificant on the basis that it was a hypothetical. Obviously if one expresses a preference or intention to seek to have an act criminalized, his view on whether or not there should be punishment if his preference/goal is achieved is relevant and significant, because the hypothetical is a scenario in which he gets what he wants.

The only way the hypothetical nature of the question can be dismissed at all could be if he would not pursue abortion ban(s) and/or is actually pro-choice. If such a person were answered the hypothetical of whether or not women should be punished by saying “yes”, he could argue validly that he was not advocating punishing the woman, because he opposed criminalizing abortion in the first place.

So perhaps his defense that he was just answering a hypothetical is a “tell”.

Just to cover all the bases, though, it’s also possible that either he is an idiot or that he assumes that many people are idiots and will not realize that his defense makes no sense if he is actually pro-life.