Donald Trump on Thursday weighed in for the first time on the Supreme Court’s landmark decision to strike down abortion restrictions in Texas.
Four days after the court’s decision, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee told “The Mike Gallagher Show” that the outcome would have been different if he were in the White House.
“You wouldn’t see that,” Trump said.
The justices’ shorthanded 5-3 decision, following the death of Antonin Scalia in February, was a decisive blow to the anti-abortion-rights movement.
Since Monday, Trump had made no mention of the Supreme Court decision on his highly active social media accounts or during his numerous speeches. He had remained silent despite a high-profile meeting with conservative leaders last week in which he vowed that appointing “pro-life judges” would be a top priority in his administration.
Trump argued on Thursday that the decision would have been reversed with the addition of another conservative, though it’s a scenario he’d be hard-pressed to prove.
“If Scalia was living, or if Scalia was replaced by me, you wouldn’t have had that. It would have been the opposite,” Trump said.
Five justices agreed to strike down Texas’s strict abortion limits – including Anthony Kennedy, a Ronald Reagan appointee. Even with Scalia or another conservative, the ruling would have been 5 to 4.
The outcome would only have been changed if Scalia or another conservative on the court had convinced Kennedy to change his vote.
Trump made no comment about Kennedy’s decision to vote with the four more liberal justices, though he railed against Chief Justice John Roberts for twice voting to uphold ObamaCare.
“He could have killed it twice and he didn’t,” Trump said. “That was so bad, and almost not recoverable, in my mind.”
This week’s abortion decision marked the court’s biggest case on the contentious issue in two decades and came down just as the starting bell is sounding in the general election face-off between Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton. The Supreme Court has already been a major campaign point for both candidates because Senate GOP leaders have refused to consider the White House’s pick to replace Scalia.
Trump, however, has struggled at times when talking about abortion. He drew condemnation even from the right when he suggested earlier this year that there would need to be “some form of punishment” for women who had abortions if the procedure were illegal.
In his interview on Thursday, Trump soundly rejecting any of Clinton’s future picks to the Supreme Court, though she has not yet released a list of those she would consider.
“If she gets in, you won’t even have to bother going to court,” he said.
The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.