Donald Trump capped off a week of controversy about his views on abortion by throwing his position into a blender, saying in an interview that abortion is murder but also that the laws regulating abortion should not be changed. In predictable fashion, his team then had to backtrack on the comments.
Trump ignited a firestorm during a MSNBC town hall earlier this week when he said abortion should be banned, and that women who then have the procedure should be punished. He quickly back-pedaled, releasing a statement that while he believes abortion should be banned, it should be those who administer the procedure who should be punished.
But on Friday, Trump, who bills himself as pro-life, told CBS News’ John Dickerson something completely different.
Asked how he would change laws governing abortion, Trump said “the laws are set now on abortion and that’s the way they’re going to remain until they’re changed.”
“I would’ve preferred states’ rights,” Trump added. “I think it would’ve been better if it were up to the states. But right now, the laws are set… And I think we have to leave it that way.”
Trump then jumped to the other side of the abortion debate, affirming that abortion is murder.
JOHN DICKERSON: Do you think it’s murder, abortion?
DONALD TRUMP: I have my opinions on it, but I’d rather not comment on it.
JOHN DICKERSON: You said you were very pro-life. Pro-life means that —
DONALD TRUMP: I am pro-life, yeah I am pro-life.
JOHN DICKERSON: — abortion is murder.
DONALD TRUMP: But, I mean, I do have my opinions on it. I’d rather — I just don’t think it’s an appropriate forum.
JOHN DICKERSON: But you don’t disagree with that proposition, that it’s murder?
DONALD TRUMP: What proposition?
JOHN DICKERSON: That abortion is murder?
DONALD TRUMP: No, I don’t disagree with it.
Later Friday evening, his spokeswoman tried to paint his comments as “nothing new.”
Trump’s full interview with Dickerson will air Sunday on CBS News’ “Face The Nation,” and the clip can be watched above.
Abortion was made legal nationwide in the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade ruling of 1973. However, efforts to change state abortion laws are already well underway. Republican-led state legislatures across the country are chipping away at a woman’s right to choose by making abortion access more difficult.
Trump’s stance on abortion is yet another issue on which his policies seem scattered. During a CNN town hall on Tuesday, Trump said education is one of the most essential roles of the federal government, which conflicts with his calls to eliminate the Department of Education. He has also taken confusing if not outright conflicting positions on nuclear proliferation, torture, gun control and immigration.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.
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