Leaders in top social conservative circles are excited about Donald Trump assuming office in January and they have big expectations from the new president. According to a new story in Politico, evangelical groups that came out forcefully for Trump now expect to see him come through on his campaign pledges.
In the story, March for Life official Tom McClusky acknowledged that Trump had not been an ideal choice.
“Donald Trump is not the candidate pro-lifers would have chosen, and he understood that, and he did outreach,” said McClusky. He said that if Trump upheld his end of the bargain, “he could be the most pro-life president since Reagan.”
Among the expectations social conservatives have for a Trump administration: A pro-life justice to replace Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, a signed bill to defund Planned Parenthood, cabinet appointments that reflect a pro-life policy agenda, and an ongoing connection between Trump and evangelical leaders.
According to the story, they feel good about their access to the new president:
Part of the buoyancy stemmed from the fact that social conservatives feel they have direct access to Trump and his team, from Kellyanne Conway — his former campaign manager and current senior aide, who is a fixture in socially conservative circles — on down.
“His top people were part of us before they were part of him,” the source said. “It’s that kind of relationship: The people running his campaign [and now transition] are people we’ve known forever, our friends and colleagues. His campaign has been run…since it really started taking off, by longstanding, respected social conservatives.”
Of course, this is only a story because there is some amount of skepticism in the air. Will Trump deliver on those promises, or was he just pandering for votes? Then there’s the debate over how genuine his views are when it comes to abortion and other socially conservative issues, to say nothing of his behavior, which many Christians find regrettable. Do Trump’s “true beliefs” really matter if he follows through on his promises?
If Trump names a conservative successor to Scalia and signs a bill to strip Planned Parenthood of federal funding, no social conservative should have anything to complain about. Whatever else happens, you’re way ahead of where you would have been with Hillary Clinton.