Via Conservative Review, skip to 2:30 of the clip below. His answer’s fine by me but what about Trump’s base of “radical centrists,” many of whom are open to more liberal fiscal policies but remain culturally conservative? Trump’s the guy who’s going to make America great again by smashing the left’s politically correct idols, yet there’s no idol more “correct” these days than gay equality.
“When President Trump is in office can we look for more forward motion on equality for gays and lesbians?” O’Connell asked him.
“Well, you can,” Trump answered. ” And look, again, we’re going to bring people together, and that’s your thing and other people have their thing. We have to bring all people together and if we don’t we’re not going to have a country anymore.”
One virtue of being wildly erratic, I guess, is that your supporters can pick and choose when to believe you. If you like Trump’s immigration hawkishness, he’s telling the truth when he says he’ll deport all illegals. If you prefer Trump for other reasons, it’s the part about him letting all “the good ones” back in that shows his true feelings. Same goes for his ban on Muslim travelers. If you like the idea, then he’s obviously deadly serious about it. If you think it’s silly, then the fact that he’s said the ban will be temporary and might even be lifted shortly after it’s imposed is the real window into his thinking. The latest example is him saying this morning that he no longer cares about suing Cruz for his supposed fraud in Iowa. Is that true, or will he want to sue again after the big vote in New Hampshire? You’re free to choose what to believe depending upon which position you prefer.
Likewise with what he says about gays, I assume. If you’re socially liberal and you like Trump, then he’s showing you his true feelings about gay equality here. If you’re socially conservative, then he was probably just surprised by the question and is telling a gay reporter what she wants to hear. Every candidate says things that are theoretically perilous but which his core supporters are happy to dismiss as a calculated pander; Obama claiming to oppose gay marriage in 2008 is a textbook example. The difference between Trump and Obama is that, because he’s changed his positions on so many issues, and because he veers between screeching about a stolen election one day and then claiming he’s over it literally the next, you have no real insight into what he truly believes. Obama obviously supported gay marriage in 2008 and lied, and we know that because Obama is a garden-variety Ivory Tower liberal in many respects. Trump defies categorization. Maybe he really is pandering here in claiming he’ll move gay rights “forward” without any intention of doing so — but then, maybe he isn’t. (“New York values!”, right?) This is why parties tend not to nominate people whose political opinions are a jumble. The stakes involved in being wrong about their true intentions are very, very high.
Here’s an old piece from MSNBC on Trump’s record on gay rights. He’s never said he supports gay marriage as far as I know, but he did apparently used to support making discrimination based on sexual orientation prohibited by federal law. At a minimum, if you’re wondering whether overturning SSM would be a priority in his selection of Supreme Court nominees, his answer here is hard to square with the idea that it would. Exit question: How would Cruz and Rubio answer this question?