Question for the gallery: What is Donald Trump's position on abortion? Don't bother asking him; he doesn't know. The Republican frontrunner recently said that given his business background, he can't even remember if he was ever asked about the issue prior to his current presidential bid. Let's help refresh his memory -- which he's bragged is one of the world's greatest:
"I'm very pro-choice," he said, citing his New York upbringing as part of the reason that he wouldn't sign a bill doing away with the gruesome practice of late-term, partial-birth abortion -- which is opposed by a vast majority of Americans. "I'm pro-choice in every respect," he concluded. Position one. Incidentally, that was in 1999, back when he was flirting with a White House campaign that would have featured a platform that entailed single-payer healthcare, tax increases and strict gun control. Trump now says he's undergone a pro-life conversion (position two), the authenticity of which has been called into question over the last several days. The new controversy was ignited when Trump misfired under questioning from MSNBC's Chris Matthews, agreeing that his policies would seek to "punish" women who have abortions, adding that the men involved would escape any legal culpability -- straying badly and damagingly from the long-established pro-life stance. Position three. Within hours, his campaign released a "clarification" statement, a full reversal that was obviously authored by someone who'd devoted at least some thought to the issue. Position four. Then yesterday, this happened on CBS News' Face the Nation:
"At this moment, the laws are set, and I think we have to leave it that way," he told host John Dickerson, re-embracing his previous pro-choice stance. Basically, 'I'm personally pro-life and would have preferred things to be different, but the law is settled and we should just leave it alone.' Position five. When pro-life groups condemned him (again) following CBS' release of the transcript, Team Trump was forced to craft yet another clarifying statement, this time explaining that Trump would pursue his pro-life agenda through judicial appointments, with an eye toward returning the issue to state legislatures. Position six. To recap, over the past two decades, Donald Trump has held six different views on abortion, four of which he and his team have articulated since last Wednesday. This is somebody who has not given virtually any serious thought to this morally-weighty policy question, electing instead to blurt out whatever he seems to think people might want to hear from him in the moment. When he was pandering to pro-lifers, he distorted mainstream pro-life thinking by wrongly assuming that abortion opponents be on board with sanctions against women. Then, following the resulting uproar from activists on all sides, as his standing among women slides into oblivion, Trump decided that "meh, the law's the law, so oh well" might be his best bet, only to have his staff clean up after him again. What's next? Perhaps this August tweet represents a prescient preview of Trump Abortion Position number seven:
Moving forward, journalists ought to probe Trumps "knowledge" on specific policy questions pertaining to additional hot-button issues on which he's pulled 180's. Imagine what he might have to say about gun rights, for example, once he's forced beyond his shallow "look at Paris, where the bullets were only going one direction!" talking points. I'll leave you with Hillary Clinton -- who supports unfettered elective abortion-on-demand, funded by taxpayers, at every stage of pregnancy -- referring to "unborn people" in the process of explaining why said human beings have no constitutional rights whatsoever:
Good news, America: One of your presidential frontrunners has engaged in insultingly little reflection on this difficult question, while the other knows exactly what she believes -- and what she believes is radical and appalling.