President Donald Trump became the first sitting president to attend the March for Life when he arrived Friday to address the annual pro-life event — but CNN’s Kristen Holmes suggested the move was entirely about “damage control.”
Jake Tapper acknowledged the historic first, noting that previous Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush had addressed the March for Life via phone or satellite link. He then turned to Holmes, who was on the ground reporting from the event.
“The president just finished speaking. What did he say?” Tapper asked.
“Well, look, he spoke for just a short amount of time, about 10-12 minutes, and he really stayed on message,” Holmes began, skipping over Tapper’s question and making no comment about what that message had been. “President Trump by speaking here today has really become the face of the anti-abortion movement,” she added.
Holmes went on to say that previous presidents — even those who supported the pro-life movement — had chosen not to appear at the event in order to avoid alienating the more moderate voters. (RELATED: CNN Dumps Democratic Town Halls To Keep Focus On Impeachment Trial)
Referencing the Christianity Today editorial that had called for Trump’s removal from office, Holmes claimed that his presence at the March for Life was a clear indicator that he was pulling out all the stops to make sure he held onto the evangelical voter base. “It was just last month that we saw that editorial that was published in an evangelical publication that called for President Trump’s removal,” Holmes said. “It really set the White House into damage control mode. This is now being part of that damage control.”
The ongoing impeachment trial in the Senate, Holmes argued, had probably also played a role in the timing of the president’s speech. “That is very obvious why President Trump would want to speak here today,” she said. “There are tens of thousands of people chanting ‘four more years’ standing in front of him giving this speech, saying nothing about impeachment at a time where something very different is happening on the Senate floor, something we know President Trump has been watching very closely.”