No, Trump and the GOP Are Not Backing Down on Social Issues

March 3, 2017

by Frank Cannon


A recent piece in the Washington Examiner accuses President Trump of abandoning social issues and thereby, the Republican Party of “rebranding” itself. This could not be further from reality. We have never seen an administration so actively engaged in social issues in its first two months.

Traditionally, it has been the practice of Republican leaders to give grand speeches on the social reforms they support to please their base, meanwhile doing nothing to actually get these reforms in place. While this rhetoric makes conservatives feel inspired, it means nothing without their corresponding action.

During his first three weeks in office, Trump has done anything but abandon the social policies he campaigned on. During his first week, he re-established the Mexico City Policy, which prevents foreign aid from going to NGOs that promote or fund abortion. The policy was first enacted by President Reagan in 1984. Just recently, the Trump administration reversed the Obama administration’s flawed interpretation of Title IX, withdrawing federal pressure to force schools to allow students to use whichever bathroom corresponded to their “gender identity”.

One of the most pressing issues Trump has addressed in the last three months is the federal funding of Planned Parenthood, which he vowed during his campaign to retract. Trump has proven a man of his word by supporting a reconciliation bill that not only repeals and replaces Obamacare, but which also includes language that will put an end to federal Planned Parenthood funding.

Just as important is the president’s support of the use of the Congressional Review Act to overturn an executive order issued by President Obama that forbids individual states from defunding Planned Parenthood. Lastly, and arguably most impactful, is President Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court — a crucial element in making serious pro-life legislation possible.

The idea that President Trump’s lack of emphasis on social issues in his address to Congress represents a “rebranding” is both misguided and absurd in consideration of the action that has already taken place in this administration. A second Supreme Court nomination, the passing of the 20-week abortion ban, and the installation of the Hyde Amendment as permanent law, all issues President Trump has vowed to support, may well be further hallmarks of his first term. Rhetoric has turned to policy.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore


Frank Cannon is the president of American Principles Project and a veteran conservative political strategist.

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