The Corner

Politics & Policy

President Trump and Same-Sex Marriage

(Joshua Robert/Reuters)

My latest article for the magazine, on social conservatives’ strength inside the Republican party and weakness outside it, observes in passing that President Trump incurs lower political costs for socially conservative policies than other Republicans do. Those policies don’t reinforce an image of him as a theocratic zealot because absolutely nobody holds that image. Along with the general crush of news during this presidency, that helps explain why the president’s new initiative stripping some federal funding from Planned Parenthood, which would have been a huge story under, say, President Jeb Bush, hasn’t even been discussed on any of the Sunday shows since it was announced.

Indeed, Trump can take socially conservative positions in public while many people remain in the dark about it, both because they don’t associate him with those positions and because he does not always maintain a consistent message on them.

So it is with Trump and same-sex marriage. My article mentions that he declared himself against it during the campaign, and a few people have expressed incredulity over this point. But it is true.

Asked about the topic in June 2015, Trump told Jake Tapper he was for “traditional marriage.” A few weeks later, after the Supreme Court held that all states had to recognize same-sex marriage, Trump told Howard Kurtz he would have preferred for the Court to have left states to make their own decisions but suggested that overturning the ruling was not a priority. He told The Hollywood Reporter it was a “dead issue.” But in January 2016, before the Iowa caucuses, he told Chris Wallace that he would “strongly consider” appointing justices who would overturn the ruling.

After winning the November 2016 election he said that whether he supported or opposed same-sex marriage was “irrelevant” because the Supreme Court had made its ruling, adding, “I’m fine with that.”

Everything he said during the campaign and even afterward was consistent with opposing same-sex marriage but not caring much about the topic. He rarely talked about the issue; as far as I know, his last word on it during the campaign was his comment to Chris Wallace about “seriously considering” making nominations to the Supreme Court partly on the basis of that opposition.

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

Most Popular

PC Culture

Hate-Crime Hoaxes Reflect America’s Sickness

On January 29, tabloid news site TMZ broke the shocking story that Jussie Smollett, a gay black entertainer and progressive activist, had been viciously attacked in Chicago. Two racist white men had fractured his rib, poured bleach on him, and tied a noose around his neck. As they were leaving, they shouted ... Read More
World

Ilhan Omar’s Big Lie

In a viral exchange at a congressional hearing last week, the new congresswoman from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, who is quickly establishing herself as the most reprehensible member of the House Democratic freshman class despite stiff competition, launched into Elliott Abrams. She accused the former Reagan official ... Read More
PC Culture

Fake Newspeople

This week, the story of the Jussie Smollett hoax gripped the national media. The story, for those who missed it, went something like this: The Empire actor, who is both black and gay, stated that on a freezing January night in Chicago, in the middle of the polar vortex, he went to a local Subway store to buy a ... Read More
U.S.

Questions for Those Who Believed Jussie Smollett

The “we reported the Jussie Smollett case responsibly” contention has been blasted to smithereens. Twitter accounts and headlines in the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times reported as fact Jussie Smollett’s wildly implausible allegations, and many other journalists did so as ... Read More
U.S.

White Progressives Are Polarizing America

To understand how far left (and how quickly) the Democratic party has moved, let’s cycle back a very short 20 years. If 1998 Bill Clinton ran in the Democratic primary today, he’d be instantaneously labeled a far-right bigot. His support for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Defense of Marriage Act, ... Read More
Elections

One Last Grift for Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders, the antique Brooklyn socialist who represents Vermont in the Senate, is not quite ready to retire to his lakeside dacha and so once again is running for the presidential nomination of a party to which he does not belong with an agenda about which he cannot be quite entirely ... Read More