Fresh from suggesting Dr. Carson’s religious faith is strange, compared to his middle-of-the-road Presbyterianism (“I’m Presbyterian. Boy, that’s down the middle of the road, folks, in all fairness. I mean, Seventh-day Adventist, I don’t know about. I just don’t know about,”) Trump has tried a new strategic attack, saying Carson’s position on abortion is suspect:
One thing I know about a frontrunner, you get analyzed fifteen different ways from China. And you know a lot of things will come out. Ben was – he was pro-abortion not so long ago, as everybody has told me. I don’t know it personally but that’s what I’ve been told. I’ve been told. And all of a sudden he’s so hard on abortion – under no circumstances, virtually, can there be exceptions. And you say, how does that happen where you’re pro? And not long ago, by the way. And all of a sudden you can’t even have exceptions. So that’s an unusual stance, so I think people will look at that.
Trump’s generally brilliant instinct for the jugular fails him here. The more evangelicals focus on Trump’s generally invisible faith commitments versus Carson’s evangelical heart, the less they are going to feel Trump is one of them. It probably doesn’t help that his comments provoked Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertson to affirm Carson’s status as a fellow believer.
The more Trump presses on the reality of Carson’s abortion views, the more they are going to reflect on Trump’s status as a guy who was explicitly a Manhattan pro-choice Democrat who publicly affirmed a woman’s right to choose.
You have to admire Trump’s communication skills. But I predict these two new attacks on Carson are going to be for Trump a big FAIL.
Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project.