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 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

Culture

Why Progressives Wage War on History

Princeton University’s decision to remove the name “Woodrow Wilson” from its School of Public and International Affairs is a big win for progressive activists, and the implications will extend far beyond the campus. It hardly surprises me, in today’s polarizing environment, that my alma mater caved to ... Read More
Culture

Why Progressives Wage War on History

Princeton University’s decision to remove the name “Woodrow Wilson” from its School of Public and International Affairs is a big win for progressive activists, and the implications will extend far beyond the campus. It hardly surprises me, in today’s polarizing environment, that my alma mater caved to ... Read More
Regulatory Policy

Going Medieval

Writing in Bloomberg, Noah Smith gives more than a nod to Peter Turchin’s theory of elite overproduction (or, as Smith neatly relabels the phenomenon, “elite over-competition”) as a cause of the current wave of turmoil in the West, something with which I would agree but, I think, more emphatically. Quite ... Read More
Regulatory Policy

Going Medieval

Writing in Bloomberg, Noah Smith gives more than a nod to Peter Turchin’s theory of elite overproduction (or, as Smith neatly relabels the phenomenon, “elite over-competition”) as a cause of the current wave of turmoil in the West, something with which I would agree but, I think, more emphatically. Quite ... Read More
U.S.

Bad News about the Virus

On the menu today: an important update about indications that the coronavirus is now more contagious than it used to be, with far-reaching ramifications for how we fight this pandemic; a point on the recent complaints about the Paycheck Protection Program; and a new book for everyone closely following the debate ... Read More
U.S.

Bad News about the Virus

On the menu today: an important update about indications that the coronavirus is now more contagious than it used to be, with far-reaching ramifications for how we fight this pandemic; a point on the recent complaints about the Paycheck Protection Program; and a new book for everyone closely following the debate ... Read More
Culture

A Triumph at Mount Rushmore

If nothing else, President Donald Trump’s July Fourth speech at Mount Rushmore clarified the battle lines of our culture war. The New York Times called the speech “dark and divisive,” while an Associated Press headline declared, “Trump pushes racial division.” A Washington Post story said the speech ... Read More
Culture

A Triumph at Mount Rushmore

If nothing else, President Donald Trump’s July Fourth speech at Mount Rushmore clarified the battle lines of our culture war. The New York Times called the speech “dark and divisive,” while an Associated Press headline declared, “Trump pushes racial division.” A Washington Post story said the speech ... Read More
Culture

Two NFL Apologies

So Drew Brees defended the American flag and all it stands for, said he didn’t agree with kneeling for the national anthem and correctly described this gesture of open disrespect as disrespect. "Is everything right with our country right now?" said the Saints' future Hall of Famer. "No, it is not. We still have ... Read More
Culture

Two NFL Apologies

So Drew Brees defended the American flag and all it stands for, said he didn’t agree with kneeling for the national anthem and correctly described this gesture of open disrespect as disrespect. "Is everything right with our country right now?" said the Saints' future Hall of Famer. "No, it is not. We still have ... Read More