President Donald Trump revealed Thursday night during a town hall discussion that he has never spoken to Judge Amy Coney Barrett or any of the sitting Supreme Court Justices about the Roe v. Wade case, a ruling that many worry could be overturned by the high court with Barrett’s confirmation, saying it would be “inappropriate” for him to influence their judgment.
When asked by a voter who identified herself as a “pro-life millennial” Republican about what he would do to protect women whose life was in danger due to a high-risk pregnancy if the Roe v. Wade was overturned, Trump replied that he wasn’t personally ruling on what policy to take regarding abortions, and that the issue “could get sent down to the states” for discussion.
In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled in Roe v. Wade that a state law banning abortions, except in the case of a threat to the mother’s life, was unconstitutional under the Fourteenth Amendment, creating a precedent for further laws to legalize abortions.
Trump said that he has never spoken to Justices Neil Gorsuch or Brett Kavanaugh about Roe v. Wade. “I’ve done the right thing from the moral standpoint,” he told the audience at the town hall hosted by NBC News’s Savannah Guthrie.
“I think that depending on what happens to Roe v. Wade, I think it perhaps could get sent down to the states, and the states will decide,” said the president. “I also think perhaps nothing will happen.”
Trump also added that he has chosen not to discuss Roe v. Wade with Barrett, despite some people urging him to do so. “I think it would be inappropriate to talk to her about it,” he said.
President Donald Trump and moderator Savannah Guthrie are seen after an NBC News town hall event at the Perez Art Museum in Miami on October 15, 2020. (Brendan Smialowski /AFP via Getty Images)
Trump was then asked by Guthrie about his personal view regarding a potential reversal of Roe v. Wade. Trump replied that he doesn’t “want to do anything to influence anything right now” and that he wants a brilliant jurist on the court to rule without influence from the head of the executive branch.
“I would like to see a brilliant jurist, a brilliant person who has done this in great depth and has actually skirted this issue for a long time, make a decision. And that’s why I chose her,” Trump said, referring to Barrett. “I think that she’s going to make a great decision.
“I did not tell her what decision to make, and I think it would be inappropriate to say right now, because I don’t want to do anything to influence her,” he continued. “I want her to get approved, and then I want her to go by the law.”
While acknowledging that there are pro-life Republicans who wanted Roe v. Wade overturned, Trump said that he would not say anything now that would leave the impression that he is giving Barrett “a signal.”
“I didn’t speak to her about … how she’s going to rule,” he said. “You’re going to find out, perhaps, or you might not find out. It may never get there. We’ll see what happens.”