Last week a lot of political oxygen was consumed by reporting on Donald Trump’s rapidly mutating beliefs on abortion. I won’t even attempt to name them all but we started off with “jail women who have abortions” and ended up with “abortion? WTF? I don’t know.”
I was wrong. Trump didn’t have 5 different views on abortion in one day. It was over a period of 3 days. I’m sorry for the egregious error.
— Jay Caruso (@JayCaruso) April 4, 2016
Perhaps the most interesting part of the story slipped under the radar. Maureen Dowd did an interview with Donald Trump that basically served as the start of what I think will be his contrition campaign. He said he was sorry for having dragged Heidi Cruz into a fight over an ad that used a photograph of naked Melania Trump that was intended to be used by Donald Trump on a previous Reform Party presidential bid. He said that Corey Lewandowski, the Trump campaign’s midget enforcer, should have apologized to former Trumpbart reporter, Michelle Fields. But this escaped notice:
Given his draconian comment, sending women back to back alleys, I had to ask: When he was a swinging bachelor in Manhattan, was he ever involved with anyone who had an abortion?
“Such an interesting question,” he said. “So what’s your next question?”
This question by Dowd was one that has been pushed by David Corn of Mother Jones:
My question for Trump: have you ever paid for or encouraged an abortion?
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) March 31, 2016
The question is at once silly and irrelevant but also important.
This is the kind of gotcha that the media thrives on when questioning Republicans, even Republicans as superficial and doubtful as Trump. In the 2000 election, George W. Bush was asked the same question. In fairness, Trump had advocated jailing women who got abortions and, in my mind, this makes the question of what to do with men who procure abortions a subject of discussion. It was also one of those questions that he could have easily anticipated.
And, quite honestly, it wasn’t even a tough one. He either has or he hasn’t.
He could have answered with a simple “no.” On the other hand, Trump hasn’t been pro-life long (if ever) and, despite possessing infant-sized hands, has bragged for years about his heroic sex life. So a mea culpa on this issue would indicate some idea that he comprehends the issue, at least in vague terms and has come to grips with the wrongness of his previous views. It certainly would not be held against him within the pro-life movement as some of our strongest voices are people who have been associated with the abortion industry and women who have had abortions. Trust me when I say that Trump having procured an abortion for a former paramour or mistress would rank near the bottom of a list of reasons to oppose him. The fact that he refused to answer the question fairly screams the answer.
Why would he refuse to answer? Because he’s not actually pro-life and has shown zero understanding of the movement. He is convinced that an admission that he has procured one or more abortions in the past would hurt him because we are all, you know, vengeful, violence-prone, mouthbreathers who could never understand human frailty.