The Slatest

Trump’s Defense of His Abortion Gaffe Is the Worst Defense Anyone Has Ever Given of Anything

In March, Donald Trump (who claims he is now solidly pro-life despite his pro-choice history) was being interviewed by Chris Matthews when Matthews pressed him on whether women who obtain abortions should be punished if abortions are widely recriminalized. (Trump says he thinks abortion should be illegal in most circumstances.) Trump said yes, an answer that was so vastly unpopular (on both sides of the aisle) that he immediately claimed it wasn’t what he meant.

Wednesday morning, Trump was on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and the show’s hosts asked him how he planned to frame his various controversial positions, including the abortion/punishment answer, now that he’s the presumptive Republican nominee. His response, which you can see in the video above, is one of the most garbled sacks of nonsense verbiage that has been emitted in the history of human civilization:

WILLIE GEIST: What about what you told Chris Matthews a few weeks ago, which is that women who get abortions should be punished? Do you still believe that to be true?

TRUMP: No, he was asking me a theoretical, or just a question in theory, and I talked about it only from that standpoint. Of course not. And that was done, he said, you know, I guess it was theoretically, but he was asking a rhetorical question, and I gave an answer. And by the way, people thought from an academic standpoint, and, asked rhetorically, people said that answer was an unbelievable academic answer! But of course not, and I said that afterwards.

At no point in this rambling, incoherent response was Donald Trump even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone who clicked the video above is now dumber for having listened to it. 

Here’s the transcript of his original “academic” answer to Matthews, by the way, which is also included in the video at the top of the post:

MATTHEWS: Do you believe in punishment for abortion, yes or no, as a principle?

TRUMP: The answer is that there has to be some form of punishment.

MATTHEWS: For the woman?

TRUMP: Yes, there has to be some form.

Truly a triumph of abstract professorial inquiry, that exchange. Donald Trump should immediately replace New York University philosophy professor K. Anthony Appiah as the author of the New York Times Magazine’s Ethicist column.

Read more Slate coverage of the 2016 campaign.