Today pro-life groups join together in the 47th annual March for Life, staged on the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v Wade. American presidents have addressed the crowd before via remote hook-up or through surrogates, but today’s march will feature the first in-person appearance by a sitting president. The speeches begin at noon ET with Donald Trump scheduled take the stage around 12:15 pm ET today, a change from the previous two years when he appeared by live video feed from the White House.
ABC News reports that this is a very big deal, and that it’s part of his effort to rally the evangelical base ahead of the election:
“President Trump is the most pro-life President in the history of our country, and becoming the first President to speak at the March for Life is further evidence of that,” Kayleigh McEnany, national press secretary for the Trump campaign, told ABC News in a statement.
Trump’s decision to appear is part of a larger effort to reach out to evangelical Christians, a core section of his conservative base.
Trump’s campaign kicked off the 2020 election year ramping up religious voter outreach, launching “Evangelicals for Trump” with a massive rally-like event at a Miami megachurch.
“We’re standing up to the pro-abortion lobby like never before — we will never shy away from the battle to protect innocent life,” Trump said at the kickoff in January.
At the very least, his in-person appearance makes that claim literally true. He’ll be standing up on stage backing the pro-life movement as he and his predecessors have never done before. The symbolic value, at least, of having a sitting president on stage cannot be dismissed.
Nor can the earned-media value. In years past, media outlets gave the event less attention than, say, demonstrations in the capital for gun control and the pro-abortion lobby. Trump’s presence makes the march more difficult to ignore. With impeachment ongoing, the media might try to stay away from this, but the Senate trial session won’t start until 1 pm ET today, so that won’t be much of an excuse.
That may not be the only audience Trump intends to reach either, as CBS News notes, because this comes not too long before the Supreme Court has yet another opportunity to rethink abortion restrictions. Note how Kate Smith frames this, however, as “a huge win for anti-abortion rights activists.”
Do they ever call the pro-choice side “abortion supporters”? Just askin’:
Later today, President Trump will become the first sitting president ever to speak at the March for Life rally. @bykatesmith reports on the response to @POTUS attending the annual anti-abortion rights event. https://t.co/hUwxuc4F29 pic.twitter.com/gjfODBaTZ7
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 24, 2020
President Trump on Friday will become the first sitting president to speak at the annual March for Life rally — a visible show of support for those who want to restrict abortion access. The event comes six weeks before Supreme Court arguments in one of the most important abortion cases since Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide. …
Until this week, the highest-ranking White House official to attend March for Life was Vice President Mike Pence, who has gone every year since 2017. Other presidents have delivered remarks over the phone, but never attended in person.
Friday’s event will begin with a rally at noon at the National Mall, where a group of speakers, including Mr. Trump, will address the crowd. Attendees will then march down Constitution Avenue and end at the steps of the Supreme Court.
The event starts at noon ET, as noted above, and there will be plenty of live coverage even if the nets are all ignoring it in favor of Trump’s impeachment. EWTN will have live coverage of the March for Life, including Trump’s historic address, available on its YouTube channel, which I’ve embedded below in this post. They will also have running commentary, but my friends at Relevant Radio® will have live coverage on the air and through its app, too, if that’s more convenient. I’ll guest host again for Drew Mariani today from 3-6 pm ET and have plenty of coverage and commentary of the day’s events.
Update: Lame move, Twitter, lame move:
Hours before Trump is scheduled to become the first sitting U.S. president to attend the annual March for Life, his official campaign account posted a video showing couples with newborns and a pregnant woman looking at an ultrasound of her baby.
“Life is the greatest miracle of all. We see it in the eyes of every new mother who cradles that wonderful, innocent, and glorious newborn child in her loving arms,” Trump says in the video. “Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life.”
The video was flagged as containing “sensitive material,” despite showing no sexual, violent, or hateful imagery.
Twitter later called this an “error.” Here’s the video; the most objectionable part of it might be Bernie Sanders.