Donald Trump is used to breaking down barriers and this Friday he did something that no predecessor had ever done: he was the first president in the history of the United States to personally attend the anti-abortion march to give a speech and harangue the protesters. The initiative, which caused chaos in central Washington, is a clear campaign move.
Trump spoke before a large demonstration near the Congress of the American capital, in the so-called March for Life, an annual demonstration that is made on the anniversary in which the Supreme Court issued in 1973 the famous ruling Roe v. Wade, who authorizes abortion. His conservative predecessors, Ronald Reagan and George Bush father and son, who were against abortion, had never attended these marches in person.
But there is a political explanation behind this Trump move, especially for a man who years ago had professed his support for women's right to decide: in campaign, Trump seeks to consolidate the religious and conservative vote that was key to his electoral triumph. 2016 and will also be for re-election in November.RELATED
Thousands of people, mostly women, participated in the "For life" march, this Friday in Washington. / BLOOMBERG
Religion crosses the very life of Americans and is a central theme of the country's culture. 89% of adults in the United States believe in God, a much higher percentage than in other developed countries, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center. In Germany, for example, only 34% of the population is a believer and in Holland, 26%, according to Gallup. About two-thirds of Americans say they pray every day and that religion is very important to them. Six out of ten go to a religious service at least once or twice a month.
Trump then seeks to establish himself as the leader of the anti-abortion movement and has taken concrete steps in that regard by appointing two conservative judges to the Supreme Court, who are against this right acquired decades ago. This year a review of the famous ruling could reach the supreme court and, now that it has a more right-wing composition, it could be reversed.
Trump spoke past noon to the protesters, many of them dressed in the traditional trump cap with the “Make American Great Again” logo. The crowd was heard singing "Four more years", four more years, asking for the re-election of the president in November.
Anti-abortion protesters demonstrate this Friday in front of the Capitol, in Washingotn. / BLOOMBERG
Trump's participation caused the security measures to redouble in Washington: there were fences, checkpoints for bags and backpacks and metal detectors everywhere and traffic was blocked for several hours.
"We all understand the eternal truth: every child is a precious and sacred gift from God," said the president. "Together, we must protect and defend the dignity and holiness of every human life," he added. And he cited several of his administrative decisions against abortion, such as the de-financing of the clinics where it is practiced.
Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen greeted the crowd through a video from Rome, where they just visited Pope Francis. "The movement for life has a champion in Donald Trump," said Pence, a fervent religious who sees it as "improper" to attend a cocktail if he is not accompanied by his wife.
Trump's participation seeks to seal the support of evangelical Christians and Catholics, a sector that was instrumental in the 2016 elections, in which he lost in the popular vote but eventually ended up in the White House because he triumphed in key states.
The march against abortion became a campaign act, this Friday in Washington. / BLOOMBERG
Evangelical Christians make up 26% of the US electorate and just look at a few numbers to see the impact of this sector on past elections. If Hillary Clinton had obtained the same amount of evangelical votes that Barack Obama took in the state of Michigan, for example, she would have garnered one hundred and twenty-five thousand more votes and triumphed in that state in which Trump finally won by a slight margin. The same in Florida (it would have added one hundred and forty-one thousand votes, and lost one hundred and twelve thousand). The story could have been different.
Trump unexpectedly ended up capturing that electorate even though he is a man who in the past had declared himself in favor of abortion, divorced twice, had complaints of sexual abuse and said he liked to “grab women from the vagina "
While the religious sectors saw with great happiness that the president appointed two conservative judges in the Supreme Court, in December some warning signs began for Trump. The evangelical magazine "Christianity Today" published an editorial supporting Trump's impeachment for the Ukraine-gate.
This alarmed the White House and since then the president has participated in several events with religious leaders and also announced measures in favor of students who want to pray in public schools. His speech in the March for Life seeks to tie that decisive sector.
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