Someone once observed that a faux pas is when someone accidentally blurts out the truth.
The short-fingered vulgarian did that today, and it caused such a reaction that he had to say he didn’t mean it.
It was a discussion of abortion, and particularly whether the extreme right could trust Trump’s commitment to the anti-abortion cause. After all, he is on record years ago being pro-choice, right? So he was being interviewed by Chris Matthews, and Matthews kept pushing the anti-abortion to the logical conclusion: if abortion is illegal, should women who get abortions be punished for it?
It makes total sense. Anti-choicers claim to believe that aborting a fetus is exactly the same as killing a living human being. If it is, then anyone who does it should be prosecuted for murder, right?
And what’s more, even if you don’t pull the trigger but you hire someone to do it you also get prosecuted for murder.
And Trump went along with the whole thing. For someone who is ” very smart, really very, very smart, believe me,” he apparently wasn’t smart enough to see where this was leading, or the likely consequences of this argument (kind of a habit with him, no?), so he plunged on ahead.
Of course, by the end of the day he was walking back his statements because the anti-choicers had called him to heel. They say that they never supported punishment for the woman who obtains an abortion, and I suspect that this is true for several reasons.
First, it’s bad PR. I continue to believe that the anti-choice movement is composed primarily of people who think they don’t know anyone who has had an abortion. Still, they realize they’re out there, and they know they would seem heartless if they were calling for women who get abortions to go to prison, so they have decided not to pursue that remedy.
Second, and this is one area in which they are actually telling the truth, they consider the women who obtain abortions to be victims. Patronizing doesn’t even cover it. What they are really saying is that women do not have moral agency, so they are not responsible for their actions. Therefore, why prosecute them?
Finally, and they will never tell you this, deep down they really don’t consider fetuses full human beings the way they claim. They say they do, but they recognize that even when it’s a painful choice it’s not the same as murder. If they did, to be morally consistent they would have to push to prosecute the women for murder, just as they would like to prosecute the doctors.
So at the end of the day we owe Trump something. It won’t happen often, but on Wednesday he blurted out the truth and exposed the malevolent core of the anti-choice movement.
So thanks, Donald. You probably won’t hear it from me again.