Why President Donald Trump’s speech at the March for Life mattered

By Jonathon Van Maren

Regular readers of this blog will know that I have many reservations about President Donald J. Trump, and that I have had them since he arrived on the national scene. I believe, as Timothy Carney eloquently noted over in the Washington Examiner this week, that pro-lifers should gratefully accept the president’s efforts on behalf of pre-born children—and his Administration’s list of pro-life accomplishments is very impressive—without attempting to defend his character, which is a different thing entirely. Trump is many things, but I do believe that it would be damaging for the movement if he were to become the face or the figurehead.

But it is undeniable that on the issues dear to the hearts of life and family leaders, Trump has been consistent—and even pro-active. Many pro-lifers have consistently assured me that Trump’s change of heart on abortion, which I had been highly suspicious of (his story simply didn’t seem true to me based on the countless conversations I’ve had with people about abortion) is real. Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life told me that he has had several personal conversations with the president on the issue, and that his pro-life convictions are genuine. So have several others who have spoken with Trump directly. Some have provided details about Trump’s conversion on the issue that I can’t share, but that I do find persuasive.

All of that aside, it was simply extraordinary to see the president of the United States of America walk out onstage at the March for Life—the first time the commander-in-chief of the world’s most powerful nation has ever done so. I watched it live earlier today, and it was surreal. I’ve been to the March for Life before (most recently when Vice President Mike Pence was the Administration’s representative), but to see the bullet-proof glass, the giddy faces of the crowd as the president endorsed their years of thankless labor, and the looks of disbelief shared by older activists who had received decades of scorn for their fight against abortion was incredible. This was their president thanking them for doing pro-life work that is so controversial it can  receive backlash even from their own churches. It might be hard for those outside of the pro-life movement to understand, but for many pro-life veterans, it was very moving to hear the president’s words.

I’m fully aware of the cynical interpretations of this. Yes, it is an election year. Yes, an impeachment trial is currently underway in the Senate. Yes, Trump is rallying his base as he feels the heat. All of those things are true, and I’m sure all of them contributed to the Administration’s decision to put the president on-stage at the March for Life. But that doesn’t change the fact that his speech was fully backed up by his record. His promises to the movement have not been empty promises, regardless of what you think of his pro-life conversion story or his character. His speech to the roaring crowd of pro-lifers was magnificent, and one of the reasons their enthusiasm was so palpable is that their president was speaking their language and supporting their life-saving work. That’s not nothing. That’s something.

In fact, to the many babies saved by this Administration’s policies, it is everything.


Watch the speech:


10 thoughts on “Why President Donald Trump’s speech at the March for Life mattered

  1. Harold says:

    Thought the President’s speech was great. It is wonderful to have pro-life President. you spoke of concerns about his character. Yes, he has a bad past, but who doesn’t have things in their past that they wish were not there. Let the past be the past. I would say he is a changed man and his actions these three years he has been in office he has kept his promises and worked tirelessly for we the people. Thank God for President Trump.

  2. Frank says:

    President Trump has done soo much good for America and the world ,, sooovery very much ,, but people don’t hear quarter of his good doings ,, what we do hear IF there is one thing he would do wrong ,, and you will hear it over and over and over again. Our problem is a totally rotten ,, liberal media ,,that is so totally rotten , it’s unbelievable,, this president is working and placed according to Gods will. Nothing happens by chance ,, I will continue to pray for this man.

  3. Annette says:

    I have been pro life my entire life. I have gone to the March for Life bringing countless teens and adults. I have walked at the statehouse and prayed in front of clinincs. I have been sworn at; told I should be ashamed of myself; and yelled at for my quiet “protesting” for the preborn children. Powerful? Yes. All those many years of no media coverage and no recognition were given a value yesterday.

    I know of one particular woman who has gone every year since the first Match for Life. Life is not a bipartisan issue. It is an issue for all.

  4. David C says:

    “Regular readers of this blog will know that I have many reservations about President Donald J. Trump.”

    Yes, Jonathan, we know all about your reservations. But who here really cares about them? Anyone who’s noticed MY comments over time will have noted me repeatedly warning you to cool it with the political appraisals.

    • Jonathon Van Maren says:

      I stand behind my analysis of Trump’s character, which his Twitter feed proves, over and over again, every single day (the relentless name-calling, including against young women, etc.) I think it takes a pretty delusional person to defend that behavior, and anyone who respects the Christian ethic for personal comportment SHOULD have reservations. A selfish reason to care, if that isn’t good enough, is the fact that an incumbent president with a good economy should be able to win re-election handily. Trump’s personal behavior (and constant tweeting) have damaged his presidency enough that he may shoot himself in the foot on that one.

  5. David says:

    “Yes, it is an election year. Yes, an impeachment trial is currently underway in the Senate. Yes, Trump is rallying his base as he feels the heat.”

    ALL of that is irrelevant. (In fact, I’d say it’s beyond irrelevant!) Trump is a shoe-in to be re-elected, and the impeachment is an obvious political sham. So Trump cannot possibly be feeling ANY heat. (And yes, Jonathan, it’s these glaring errors in judgment of American politics that I’ve warned you about numerous times.)

    “his speech was fully backed up by his record.” Now that’s relevant! (And one of the many reasons Trump certainly isn’t feeling any political heat from anywhere.)

    • Nelson says:

      That’s just about what I wanted to say. But I would add, why is Maren so prejudiced against Trump. He has been lied to by the presstitutes over and over. You silly boy. Grow up! All that Trump is doing is just as likely to lose him votes. I’d say it’s time for Maren to join together with the most Christian president ever. He is not Sharia to go with convictions and fight against the crazy demoncrats who have already publicly booed God and thrown God or of their politics. Nothing wrong with Trump character but I question Maren’s bad judge of character.

      • Jonathon Van Maren says:

        I suggest you read Trump’s own books. My analysis of his character during the election came not from the media, but from books like “The Art of the Deal,” in which he boasts about seducing married women (while he himself is married) etc. Perhaps you simply have a different definition of character than I do.

    • Jonathon Van Maren says:

      I have to say that a lot of your analysis shows blind partisan worship and a refusal to be objective. That’s genuinely dangerous in a conservative.

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