In his lengthy interview with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, Donald Trump appeared stumped when asked about the legal principle that served as the cornerstone for the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion. Here’s the key part of the interview:
Guthrie: “Is there a right to privacy in the Constitution?”
Trump: “I guess there is, I guess there is. And why, just out of curiosity, why do you ask that question?”
When pressed to explain how his position on the right to privacy “squares” with his anti-abortion position, Trump responded: “Well, that’s a pretty strange way of getting to pro-life. I mean, it’s a very unique way of asking about pro-life. What does that have to do with privacy? How are you equating pro-life with privacy? ”
Guthrie asked, “well, you know about the Roe v. Wade decision.” Trump responded, “yes, right, sure. Look, I am pro-life. I’ve said it. I’m very strong there.”
The exchange was reminiscent of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s response to a similar question during the 2008 presidential campaign. In one of a series of interviews with CBS News’ Katie Couric that were widely seen as damaging to Palin’s image, the vice presidential nominee was asked: “Do you think there's an inherent right to privacy in the Constitution?” Palin responded, “I do. Yeah, I do.”
Given that the Supreme Court used the “right to privacy” reasoning as the foundation for the Roe ruling, anti-abortion activists and candidates have long insisted no such right exists.
You can see more of the Trump interview here.