At about 10 o’clock Monday morning, shortly after the Supreme Court issued its 5-3 ruling striking down a Texas law that would have closed half the abortion clinics in the state, Hillary Clinton sent out a couple of tweets.
“SCOTUS’s decision is a victory for women in Texas and across America. Safe abortion should be a right — not just on paper, but in reality,” the first one read.
Minutes after that, she followed up with, “This fight isn’t over: The next president has to protect women’s health. Women won’t be “punished” for exercising their basic rights.” Both were signed “-H,” meaning she wrote them herself.
At about the same time, Donald Trump tweeted about… himself. “.@CNN is all negative when it comes to me. I don’t watch it anymore,” he wrote.
As of publication time, he still had not addressed Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which constitutional scholars describe as the most significant abortion ruling in a decade.
That is perhaps because the most recent times that Trump has made comments about abortion have not gone all that well. His appears to be an evolving position: In 1999, he told Tim Russert, “I’m very pro-choice” but then declared himself antiabortion by the time he announced his candidacy.
During Trump’s yearlong presidential run, there have been more than a few times when the subject seems to have confused the presumptive Republican nominee. It began with this exchange with Jake Tapper on CNN one year ago tomorrow:
Tapper: Let me ask you about a few social issues because they haven’t been issues you have been talking about for several years. I know you’re opposed to abortion.
Trump: Right. I’m pro-choice.
Tapper: You’re pro-choice or pro-life?
Trump: I’m pro-life. I’m sorry.
Then, this spring, Trump appeared to change his position on abortion four times within the space of just two days. On the afternoon of March 30, he said during a taped interview with Chris Matthews that, were abortions to be made illegal again, women who have them should face punishment. An excerpt of the interview released online before the program aired led to an immediate outcry, and Trump released a statement saying it should be up to the states to decide whether women should be punished. An hour after that, his campaign sent out another statement, this time saying that it was doctors who perform the procedure, not the patients they perform it on, who should be “held legally responsible.”
The next day brought two more variations on his position on abortion. First, Trump told CBS News that the legality of abortion was established and “we have to leave it that way”; within 90 minutes, a campaign press release clarified that, saying, “Mr. Trump gave an accurate account of the law as it is today and made clear it must stay that way now — until he is president. Then he will change the law…”
So how does he feel today, after the Supreme Court struck down a Texas law that would have required abortion clinics to meet hospital-grade standards? Unclear.
While Marco Rubio was tweeting this:
I’m incredibly disappointed in today’s #SCOTUS ruling on abortion clinics in TX. I’ll continue to fight for life and protect the unborn.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) June 27, 2016
And Paul Ryan was saying this:
I’m disappointed in the Court’s decision. But our fight to protect women’s health & promote life will not stop here. pic.twitter.com/sG0TyuT521
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) June 27, 2016
And President Obama was saying this:
Every woman has a constitutional right to make her own reproductive choices. I’m pleased to see the Supreme Court reaffirm that fact today.
— President Obama (@POTUS) June 27, 2016
There was no word from the Trump campaign — from his Twitter account or otherwise — on the subject.