life after roe

No, Trump, God Didn’t Overturn Roe v. Wade. You did.

Trump with Justice Amy Coney Barrett. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

During a long, discouraging day of looking at the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization from various angles, I tried to ignore the fatuous things being said by politicians, though I knew that what the Court had done was to put the subject of reproductive rights in their unclean hands. But I couldn’t ignore the characteristic take from the principal author of this calamity, the 45th president of the United States, in an interview with his trusty accomplice, Fox News:

When asked whether he feels he played a role in the reversal of Roe v. Wade, after having appointed three conservative justices to the high court, the former president told Fox News: “God made the decision.”

Now it’s no secret that Trump is religiously illiterate, despite the constant ministrations of conservative Evangelical advisers, supporters, and vice-presidents. But this is perhaps the most inappropriate invocation of the divine will since the legendary (and perhaps apocryphal) prayer of a U.S. Army chaplain during the Vietnam War beseeching the Almighty for a good body count. However God feels about abortion (and believe it or not, worshipers, religious leaders, and scholars vary widely on this topic), God is not, praise Jehovah, a lawyer, and is probably as uninterested in mere earthly judicial proceedings as Trump is uninterested in the U.S. Constitution. If God does have a position on abortion, it’s probably not that it should be left up to the states. But what makes Trump’s comment more than just the ignorant ramblings of the man who once quoted “Two Corinthians” and tried to place money in a passed communion tray is that he knows damn well who fathered the Dobbs decision: He did.

On this of day of all days, it’s important to remember Trump’s 2016 promise to appoint Supreme Court justices who would reverse Roe v. Wade after many years of frustration for the anti-abortion movement. As Ankush Khadori explained here at Intelligencer, the promise is what more than anything else bound the Republican Party and the conservative movement to a presidential candidate who personally horrified so many of those who nonetheless lifted him to power and defended him through so many blunders and outrages:

Today, Donald Trump delivered his end of the bargain he made with Republican elites and voters years ago. Support me despite my corruption, my gross personal failings and transgressions, and my persistent debasement of the presidency, and I’ll do your bidding on the issue closest to your hearts: abortion. 

We know Trump knows this, by the way, because the formal statement he released today was all about himself, not about God:

So it stands to reason that in attributing his victory to God in the Fox interview, Trump is engaging in the blasphemous identification of his will with God’s. This is not, sad to say, a new thing.

But like God, the ex-president views himself as all-benevolent, as another comment from the Fox interview showed:

When asked if he had a message for any of his supporters who may be pro-choice, Trump told Fox News: “I think, in the end, this is something that will work out for everybody.”

God only knows what that was supposed to mean.

No, Trump, God Didn’t Overturn Roe v. Wade