Trump told The New York Times magazine in an interview published Wednesday that when he said in March that there “has to be some form of punishment” for women who have abortions if the procedure were to be made illegal, he meant “women punish themselves” if they have a termination.
“I didn’t mean punishment for women like prison. I’m saying women punish themselves,” Trump told the Times. “I didn’t want people to think in terms of ‘prison’ punishment. And because of that I walked it back.”
This is a direct contradiction of what he told MSNBC's Chris Matthews. The businessman told him in March that there “has to be some form of punishment for women who have abortions,” when the future President Trump succeeds in nominating enough Supreme Court justices to overturn Roe v. Wade, but that the punishment “will have to be determined.”
Trump’s new comments to the Times also contradict the statement his own campaign released after anti-abortion groups condemned his punishment comment. In that statement, he said “the woman is the victim” and that it’s the provider who should be held legally responsible if abortion were banned.
The reality TV personality changed his position again on Monday because there’s no consequence to him doing so; anti-abortion groups have begun to embrace him after actively campaigning against him earlier in the primary.
He has articulated so many different positions on abortion access that it’s impossible to divine exactly what he believes. Confusing people may be a smart strategy to stay palatable to anti-abortion advocates while still appealing to the 80 percent of Americans who believe abortions should be legal under "any" or "certain" circumstances and the 50 percent of Americans who identify as “pro-choice.”
While seven in 10 women have an unfavorable view of him, Trump suggested to the Times that his position on Planned Parenthood -- that the organization “does very good work,” but should still be defunded if it continues for provide abortions -- will be “a very good issue” for him in the general election.
“I’m going to be better to women on women’s issues than Hillary Clinton and everybody else combined,” he said.
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar,rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist
Clarification: A paraphrase of Gallup survey's results on public support for abortion has been replaced with the survey's language.