As he so often does, Trump evaded questions at a press conference that asked him specifically what he believes about abortion, simply restating, “I’m pro-life.” With major pro-life women leaders warning against Trump, his unwillingness to say what he would do on abortion, his dislike for talking about it in any detail — and his unwillingness to face questions in the last debate on Fox News — will Iowa voters be willing to bet the house on this man?
Here’s what The Donald said:
[2:30] REPORTER: Mr. Trump, a group of national and Iowa pro-life leaders are circulating a letter that says ‘anyone but Trump.’ Effectively they say that you can’t be trusted as a pro-life advocate –
TRUMP: Well, that’s okay. I mean, that’s their opinion. Look, I’m pro-life. But that’s their opinion, and if they wanna do that – all I can tell you is, as you know, I’m pro-life. I’ve been pro-life for a long time.
REPORTER: In 1999 you said you were ‘pro-choice in all respects’ –
TRUMP: And I said – what did I say? You didn’t read it. Read the full statement of what I said. Read the full statement. No no, you’re not reading the full statement. Go ahead, get out the full statement. Read it.
REPORTER: Tim Russert –
TRUMP: I know, I remember Tim Russert very well. He was a friend of mine. He was a good man. No no, but read the full statement.
REPORTER: My question is –
TRUMP: Okay, look. They have their choice. They can do what they have to do. I’m pro-life. They can do what they have to do. There’ll be many people that will be voting for me, that I can tell you.[…] [5:05] REPORTER: Mr. Trump, if your pro-life position on abortion prevails, what do you think the penalty should be for a woman that has an abortion, or a physician who performs one?
TRUMP: Uh, I just don’t want to talk about that right now. Everybody knows my views, and I think my views are very plain.[…] [15:05] REPORTER: Mr. Trump, the soundbite, the full soundbite from Tim Russert – you said, ‘I’m very pro-choice, I hate the concept of abortion’ –
TRUMP: Correct! Why didn’t you read that? By the way, why didn’t you read that before? No, but why didn’t you read that before? You didn’t read ‘I hate the concept of abortion.’
REPORTER: I’m reading it to you. My question –
TRUMP: Excuse me, excuse me –
REPORTER: Are you a trustworthy [inaudible] –
TRUMP: Very trustworthy. More so than you. Because you know what, you didn’t read the question. See, when you quoted Tim Russert, you didn’t read what you just said. No, read it again. Read it again. Go ahead.
REPORTER: I’ll read it out. ‘I’m very pro-choice, I hate the concept of abortion’ –
TRUMP: You didn’t read – okay, why didn’t you say when you asked the question before, that I hate the concept of abortion?
REPORTER: Because the question for the pro-life groups –
TRUMP: No, no, no, no, no. You are quoting Tim Russert – excuse me. You were quoting Tim and you were quoting me. Why didn’t you read my quote the way I said it?
REPORTER: Sir, I tried to pull it up and I didn’t have Wi-Fi –
TRUMP: Well, then you gotta get Wi-Fi, okay? Don’t ask me questions like that. You’re not a very good reporter doing that.[…] [19:50] TRUMP: You have a question that now is a legitimate question?
REPORTER: As we’re –
TRUMP: Do you apologize? No, do you apologize?
REPORTER: Do I apologize for reading your words?
TRUMP: For not reading my words. No. For not reading my words. No, do you apologize for not reading my words? Excuse me, do you apologize for not reading my exact words?
REPORTER: I apologize if you didn’t think I got them correct. Mr. Trump, I corrected the record.
TRUMP: No, no no. I didn’t ask that. Excuse me. You quoted me and you took out the main part of the quote. I’m just asking, do you apologize?
REPORTER: Even if you hate abortion, and you say you’re pro-choice –
TRUMP: Okay, forget you. Just forget it.[…] [20:47] REPORTER: As someone who opposes abortion, do you consider Plan B, the morning-after pill, to be abortion?
TRUMP: Uh, I will give you an answer to that sometime in the future.
Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project.