Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump’s announcement that he is endorsing incumbent Rep. Renee Ellmers in her North Carolina primary race Tuesday is a decision that at least one pro-life leader says is “just another disappointment from Mr. Trump and his campaign.”
Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, tells Breitbart News:
This is just another disappointment from Mr. Trump and his campaign. Either his endorsement shows a lack of understanding of our human rights movement or a lack of caring. This is why I’m looking forward to meeting with Mr. Trump in a couple of weeks. I pray it’s the former and that he is willing to consult with movement leaders before making such decisions in the future and not endorse candidates who have betrayed pro-lifers.
Hawkins will be among the pro-life and evangelical leaders who plan to have a private meeting with Trump to address their concerns about him as a candidate. The real estate businessman’s endorsement of Ellmers – who sabotaged the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act in 2015 because of her expressed concern that the legislation would be politically harmful to Republicans with women and millennial voters – is likely the equivalent of a kick in the stomach to those who have been fighting the battles against Planned Parenthood funding and abortion during pregnancy when an unborn baby can already feel pain.
“We are looking for a way forward,” Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, told Time about the anticipated meeting with Trump. “The main thing here is to have a conversation.”
Perkins added the planned meeting – which is being arranged through Trump surrogate Dr. Ben Carson – is “a starting point for many.”
Pro-life constitutional conservatives don’t feel they can necessarily depend on a candidate who has not been clear about where he stands on issues that are important to them, and Trump’s endorsement of Ellmers is yet another red flag.
The pro-life Susan B. Anthony List endorsed Ellmers’ Republican challenger Rep. George Holding for the newly redrawn North Carolina second congressional district.
The group’s president, Marjorie Dannenfelser, wrote:
In January 2015, Congresswoman Ellmers led the charge to derail the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. This compassionate, popular legislation to protect babies more than halfway through pregnancy was pulled from consideration on the eve of the March for Life, just as hundreds of thousands of pro-life Americans – mainly youth – poured into the streets to protest abortion on-demand up until birth. North Carolina deserves better than Ellmers’ failed leadership. That’s why we’re proud to endorse Congressman Holding.
Frank Roche, whose conservative primary challenge to Ellmers failed after the district was redrawn, tells Breitbart News there are many reasons why Trump’s endorsement of Ellmers is “wrong.”
Something is wrong here. On the issues of immigration, deficit spending, national debt, trade, or national security Renee Ellmers is well to the left of Donald Trump’s rhetoric. Either Donald Trump doesn’t believe what he has been saying on the campaign trail over the past year, or he and his team did not do their proper due diligence on Renee’s time in office.
Donald Trump and his team have made a mistake. Supporting a candidate like Ellmers dilutes most of what Donald Trump has been saying and doing over the past year. It also raises the distrust level of those on the right who are skeptical of Donald’s real political leanings.
“There’s a lot of concern,” Tom McClusky, vice president of March for Life Action, also told Time about the experience of the pro-life community with Trump as the GOP nominee. “Our theme for the March this year is that pro-life and pro-women go hand in hand. Some of his statements have been, to put it mildly, misogynist.”
Additionally, while Trump says he is pro-life now and would defund Planned Parenthood if the organization continues to provide abortions, he has also said that Planned Parenthood greatly helps “millions and millions of women.” His comment, however, was made as the pro-life community has been actively pointing out that there are thousands more federally qualified health centers that perform even more comprehensive health care for women and yet do not perform abortions.
In April, Trump also announced that he would add new exceptions to the Republican platform on abortion for rape, incest, and the life of the mother, a statement that led to even greater concern among the pro-life community.
Writing at Breitbart News, Live Action president Lila Rose warned that Trump’s introduction of exceptions to abortion would “dilute” the GOP’s pro-life platform.
“To the issue of rape and incest, these are horrific injustices, and while abortion exceptions for survivors of these crimes seems compassionate, how is it not also an injustice to punish an innocent child for the crimes of her father,” wrote Rose. “The law forbids the death penalty as punishment for rapists, yet it permits the death penalty for innocent preborn children conceived in rape.”
“Here’s what Donald Trump doesn’t seem to understand: To adopt a rape exception in the Republican Party’s platform is to say [to people who were conceived as a result of rape], ‘You are less worthy human beings and you didn’t deserve to live,’” she added.
Trump’s decision to endorse Ellmers – whose actions in Congress Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, described as “reprehensible” – brings added interest to the anticipated meeting between the GOP candidate and the pro-life community.