Many political observers and pro-life activists have upbraided Mitt Romney for his change of heart on abortion. As Governor of Massachusetts, Romney presented himself as pro-choice and even attended a Planned Parenthood fundraiser. As a presidential candidate, he's morphed into a fairly doctrinaire pro-lifer. Voters are welcome to question the authenticity of this conversion, but Romney has at least gone out of his way to explain his reversal. The same cannot be said of Donald Trump's swift, and possibly quite cynical, flip from pro-choice to "pro-life" now that he's entertaining a presidential run. While pro-life Americans are rightly pleased to see a prominent celebrity apparently embracing their cause, they should also be wary of his motives for doing so. In this case, one highly likely motive is obvious: Political expediency. Sure, Trump has concocted his own "road to Damascus" moment on the issue, but how authentic is Trump's shift? Let's explore a quick time-line of Trump's philosophy on the matter, such as it is:
2000: In his book, The America We Deserve, Trump writes, “I support a woman’s right to choose, but I am uncomfortable with the procedures."
2000's: Unconfirmed online reports suggest Trump has articulated his pro-choice position during appearances on Howard Stern's radio program. If Trump's bid gets more serious, expect this audio -- if it exists -- to surface.
November 2010: Trump sits down with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos to discuss a possible run for president:
GS: Are you pro-choice?
DT: Excuse me.
GS: Are you pro-choice?
DT:I am-- well, I-- I don't want to discuss right now, but you will be shocked when I give you that answer.
GS: How can I be shocked?
DT: Well, you will be very surprised what I give you. I'm going to make a decision, and when I make a decision, I'll let you know about that, but I think you'd probably be surprised.
February 2011: "Who said I'm pro-choice?"
April 2011: Trump assures Fox's Sean Hannity he's pro-life (and also "sofor" the death penalty):
Last week: Trump appears on MSNBC and demonstrates zero awareness of the Supreme Court's 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut decision establishing a "right" to privacy, which served as the legal underpinning for Roe v. Wade eight years later. Stumped:
Perhaps this is just a stylistic quibble, but I wonder how convinced social conservatives will be by Trump's insistence that he "supports pro-life." He doesn't talk about the issue in a way that suggests he's even remotely familiar with the vernacular of the movement. That's not a damning indictment in itself, but coupled with his muddled, multiple-choice abortion stances through the years and his well known opportunistic tendencies, pro-life voters would be wise to take Trump's self-described transformation with a heaping helping of salt and skepticism.
UPDATE: A reader points out that a number of major evangelical leaders say their flocks may be open to supporting Trump. Several cite his, ahem, pro-life views:
I'd be curious to hear if Reed, Perkins, and Graham ever wonder whether Trump would stick with his new-found convictions if, say, he perceived them to be unhelpful to his next endeavor -- whatever it may be. Who here doubts he'd abandon them in a nanosecond?
Townhall.com is the leading source for conservative news and political commentary and analysis.
Townhall is packed with breaking news headlines, political news, and conservative opinion with Townhall columnists including Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Michael Barone, Star Parker, Dennis Prager, Thomas Sowell, and many more of your favorite conservatives.
Political cartoons full of satire and political humor from editorial cartoonists including Michael Ramirez, Glenn McCoy, and Henry Payne.
Townhall.com also features the latest news videos and pictures on the latest political hot topics including health care reform, the economy, immigration, government tax, President Obama, Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Ron Paul, Iraq, immigration, politics, gay marriage laws, and many more big news issues.
Townhall Magazine is our monthly print magazine that offers more exclusive investigative journalism, in-depth reporting, analysis, interviews with the heavy hitters and powerful exposés.