WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – President Joe Biden rarely mentions his predecessor by name. But while speaking to a nation that is processing a seismic shift in women’s rights, he could not ignore Donald Trump’s legacy.
“These were three judges named by one president – Donald Trump – who were at the heart of today’s decision to lift the scale of justice and eliminate a fundamental right for women in this country,” Biden said Friday. said after the Conservative majority of the Supreme Court voted to reverse it. Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark ruling that provided constitutional protection for women seeking abortions.
The abortion decision marked the culmination of a week that strengthened the former president’s continued impact in Washington more than a year and a half after he left the White House.
A court that includes three conservatives appointed by Trump has also decided to weaken restrictions on gun ownership. And across the street from the Capitol, which was plagued by a crowd of Trump supporters in the last days of its 2021 presidency, new details emerged of its gross violations of democratic norms. The House’s committee of January 6 used a public hearing last week to highlight the intense pressure Trump put on top Justice Department officials to overthrow the 2020 election, along with discussions of blanket pardon for cooperative members of Congress.
The developments were a reminder of the awkward political bargaining chip that social conservatives embraced to achieve their greatest ambitions. By refusing to consider Barack Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court during the final year of his presidency, then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Ensured that the next president could make his mark on the court. . While Trump promised to transform the Supreme Court’s ideological tendencies – even providing a list of the judges he would choose from – reluctant conservatives, Republicans and evangelical Christians, rallied behind Trump, a three-married man who had previously described himself as “very pro-choice”. . ”
“When he participated in 2016, he promised that he would appoint conservative and pro-life judges in the federal courts, starting with the US Supreme Court. And he kept his word, ”said Ralph Reed, an evangelical leader and chairman of The Faith and Freedom Coalition, who has been criticized in some quarters for his embrace of Trump. “Those in the faith community who felt it was worth taking a chance on Donald Trump in 2016 were justified.”
The GOP is now at something of a turning point in its relationship with a man who has fundamentally transformed the party with its populist, “Make America Great Again” agenda and its struggle against the established Republicans who once controlled the party. There is a growing debate within the party over whether Trump’s resonance is beginning to fade as the foundation for a third presidential run in 2024.
Other prominent Republicans, including former Vice President Mike Pence and Trump’s former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, are taking increasingly bold steps toward the White House bid. And many of Trump’s own supporters are eagerly embracing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as Trump’s natural successor as they look to the future.
Pence, Pompeo and DeSantis are among those who have made it clear that a Trump candidate will not influence their own decisions on whether to run. If they do run, they will all compete for support from the same conservatives who fueled Trump’s rise.
Trump himself seems somewhat uncertain about how to navigate the political outburst of the past week, especially the abortion ruling. He expressed private concern to assistants that the decision could incite the Democrats going into the November election, The New York Times reported for the first time.
In fact, in a Fox News interview after the abortion opinion was released, Trump said that “in the end, it’s something that will work out for everyone.”
Asked about his own role in the final decision, Trump replied, “God made the decision.”
Trump became more bold as Friday unfolded, raising money from the decision and issuing a statement accepting full credit for what he called “the biggest WIN for LIFE in a generation.”
He said that this and “other recently announced decisions were only made possible because I delivered everything as promised, including the nomination and getting confirmed by three highly respected and strong Constitutionalists to the United States Supreme Court. It was my great honor to do so! ”
At a Saturday night rally, Trump took another victory round to cheer the crowd.
“Yesterday, the court gave a victory for the Constitution, a victory for the rule of law, and above all a victory for life,” he told supporters, who sang in a chant of “Thank you Trump !. “
While Democrats hope the decision will stir up voters ahead of November’s midterm elections, Michael Caputo, a former Trump campaigner and White House adviser, argued that the decision would be beneficial to Trump’s future political prospects, and would helps strengthen his position among conservative voters as he runs again.
“President Trump has accepted his share of the credit for the Trump court’s decision, as he should,” Caputo said, “This is yet another confirmation of his transforming presidency. Suburban Republican anxiety is a progressive myth; Republicans know that their handshake is performative: “This decision simply shifts the issue of abortion to the states where it has always belonged.”
Meanwhile, the January 6 committee and related investigations, including a special grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, are looking into whether Trump and others illegally interfered in the 2020 election.
While the committee held a series of public hearings, few Republicans showed up to defend Trump’s actions, which increasingly drew comparisons to President Richard Nixon’s actions during the Watergate scandal 50 years ago.
The committee last week showed how a defeated Trump tried to use the Department of Justice for his own political purposes, much like Nixon fired his top ranks in the “Saturday Night Massacre” before his resignation.
John Dean, who served as White House attorney for Nixon and famously testified against Nixon in hearings over the scandal, said that watching the three Trump-era Justice Department officials tell how Trump is pushing them to make unfounded allegations investigating and threatening mass resignations brought him back to conversations he had with Nixon.
“I did fall back and reminded myself of my ‘Cancer on the presidency’ conversation of March 21 with Nixon where I kept pushing the problems and escalating. And he clearly decided, “he said. “Nothing I could say seemed to come through.”
He said he hoped the January 6 hearings would help the public understand the seriousness of what Trump was trying to do, that he was a threat to democracy and those who supported him were a threat to democracy. Authoritarianism and democracy just do not work together. “