President Donald Trump speaks via a live feed to anti-abortion activists as they rally on the National Mall in Washington, Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, during the annual March for Life. Thousands of anti-abortion demonstrators gather in Washington for an annual march to protest the Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 decision that declared a constitutional right to abortion. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
A little more than an hour ago, President Trump was the keynote speaker at the 47th March for Life on the National Mall.
As usual, the crowd was huge. There was an whiff of victory in the air. Slowly we are seeing abortion clinics shuttered. This is not happening organically. It is happening because President Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services is doing all it can legally do to deprive the abortion beast of access to federal cash. It is because President Trump is appointing judges who do not see killing kids as a sacrament but rather as a travesty.
— Students for Life (@StudentsforLife) January 24, 2020
This is the speech
She is a Republican, a pro-life activist, and a supporter of President Trump.
— Andrew Clark ❄️ (@AndrewHClark) January 24, 2020
Not a lot of great rhetoric but that is not what is important.
The key fact to remember is that despite the right to life being a part of the GOP platform since 1980, this is the first time, I say again, first time a President has ever found it possible to take the time to address the March for Life rally.
The one amazing thing about this entire event is the reaction from left. Ever since Trump announced he would be at the March this has been the constant refrain. Here I will use Vox’s Aaron Rupar so you can mock his looks mentally as you mock his thought processes:
It is absolutely absurd that a serial philanderer and man who has been accused by sexual misconduct by more than 20 women gets to posture as some sort of beacon of virtue. #MarchForLife pic.twitter.com/qg47eIYP0O
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 24, 2020
I’m not aware of anyone actually holding President Trump up as a paragon of virtue. I don’t think the crowd is either. What the crowd is responding to is the fact that after having been lied to and kept at arms length for years by GOP presidents, we are finally acknowledged as important. It is quite simple
For decades, Republican politicians promised to protect the unborn, but did little to keep their word once they were in office. Today is the 47th March for Life. And until today, no president had ever personally attended. https://t.co/2GMiC05X6F
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) January 24, 2020
Trump’s greatest strength as a politician is that he’s unafraid of being associated with his base. https://t.co/hmxckLgfQo
— Jesse Kelly (@JesseKellyDC) January 22, 2020
Where George Bush (both of them) played failure theater on abortion, publicly decrying it but not bothering to break a sweat combating either the growth of the practice or the progressive fundraising apparatus it fed, Trump is actually doing something. He’s taking risks and spending political capital to drastically change the role of abortion in our society. Is he, himself, pro-life? I don’t know. We know that not very many years ago he wasn’t but we also know that people can undergo conversions and the abortion industry has had plenty of them. But the larger point is that it doesn’t matter. Who is actually more pro-life, the president who is personally pro-life and is afraid to take a stand for fear of offending ‘suburban women?” Or the president who is personally pro-abort but realizes that a majority of his political coalition is very pro-life and undertakes actions that drastically reduce abortion out of political calculus? To me the answer is obvious. I don’t care what you feel or believe, I care very much about what you do. Even a NeverTrumper like National Review’s Alexanda DeSanctis can see it…though in a backhanded way:
They will ask: Is a man who has led such a dissolute life really a good representative for a cause centered around promoting “traditional values”? How can any person of faith embrace a man who speaks of other human beings in coarse and callous terms? How can a march with the theme “Pro-Life Is Pro-Woman” throw its support behind a man who speaks of women the way Trump has?
To some extent, these questions are fair, and pro-lifers ought to ask themselves just these things, especially if they plan to throw their unqualified support behind him. There is little doubt that Donald Trump is a complicated witness and leader for this movement, that his personal history and much of his rhetoric are not in line with those of the pro-life movement, that he causes many outside the movement to view it with disdain, that he brings on pro-lifers the charge of hypocrisy, and that he doesn’t talk about abortion in the polished or careful way other pro-life leaders do.
Courts control abortion policy. The American people do not. As they gather today, once again, despite making progress so slowly and incrementally in the realm of politics, those pro-life people will be told they ought to feel ashamed that Trump will stand before them in support of their mission. But is it so wrong for a movement that rightly feels it has so little ability to effect political change to celebrate the fact that a president would acknowledge them and work toward their ends — if only, as the most cynical allege, for his own political gain?
Though the Trump administration’s efforts to protect life do matter, and though there remain reasons to criticize the way in which Trump’s behavior and rhetoric complicate his role as a messenger for the pro-life cause, his involvement today should not be the focus of the coverage. Because in the end, the March for Life is not about politicians or politics at all. It is a testament to the fact that hundreds of thousands of unborn human beings are killed in our country each year — and whether progress is made by the president, through the courts, through legislation, or through changing hearts and minds, that killing must stop.
By showing up and with some of the actions he has initiated this week, President Trump has not only locked down the pro-life vote in the country but he has probably won over a significant number of voters who are Trump skeptics but trend pro-life. More importantly, no matter what gripes you may have about Trump’s character or motives, one thing is undeniable. Tens of thousands of American citizens will be born who would otherwise have had their lives snuffed out for fun and profit by Democrat politicians and the abortion industry.