In 1999, then-real estate mogul Donald Trump said that while he hates “the concept of abortion,” he will always be “very pro-choice.”
“It may be a little bit of a New York background, of course there is some different attitude in different parts of the country. … But I am strongly for choice,” he told NBC in October 1999.
That was then.
Now, he’s apparently so pro-life that Vice President Mike Pence on Friday called him the “most pro-life president in American history.”
“From preventing taxpayer dollars from funding abortion overseas to empowering states to respect life in Title 10 to nominating judges who will uphold our God given liberties enshrined in the Constitution of the United States, this President has been a tireless defender of life and conscience in America,” Pence said.
Giving separate speeches from the White House Rose Garden that were live-streamed to the National Mall, the pair became the first President and vice president to address the annual “March for Life” gathering, a pro-life march that’s been held annually in Washington, D.C. since 1974.
During his speech, Trump thanked those with “big hearts and tireless devotion” who work to help struggling mothers choose life. He invited a woman on stage who got pregnant as a teenager, kept the child and started a shelter to help homeless women who become pregnant. Speaking directly to his evangelical Christian and Catholic base, the President called out the Senate for stalling on voting on a policy that would block late-term abortions.
“On the national day of prayer, I signed an executive order to protect religious liberty. Very proud of that,” Trump said, before touting his new proposal to “protect the conscience rights” of medical professionals and his new policy that keeps states from giving Medicaid to abortion clinics that “violate the law.”
“We are protecting the sanctity of life and the family as the foundation of our society,” he said.
Trump’s change of heart became public for the first time in 2011 when he was mulling a presidential bid. He told attendees of the Conservative Political Action Conference back then that he was pro-life. During the Republican primaries in 2016, Trump took five different anti-abortion positions over the course of three days, the most extreme being that he thought women who have abortions should be punished.