NEW YORK - There are many things that can be said about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, but there's one thing both his critics and his supporters agree upon: the man says what he thinks, and thinks what he says.
Or does he?
Thursday morning in an interview on the Today Show, co-host Savannah Guthrie asked Trump,
"The Republican platform every four years has a provision that states that 'the right of the unborn shall not be infringed,' and it makes no exceptions for rape, incest or the life of the mother. Would you want to change the Republican platform to include the exceptions that you have?"
"Yes, I would ... absolutely ... yes, I would...for the three exceptions ... I would," Trump said.
"Would you have an exception for the health of the mother?" she asked.
"I would leave it at the life of the mother but I would absolutely have the three exceptions," Trump said.
(The video is HERE.)
But wasn't the fact that Donald Trump promised Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly he would not change the Republican Platform the key reason why she endorsed Trump, a move that sent havoc into the Eagle Forum ranks nationwide?
“I asked Donald Trump to support the Republican platform because this is the best and most conservative platform we’ve ever had. I gave him one of my copies of the 2012 platform. He endorses it and I believe he will stand by it," Schlafly said in a press statement on March 13.
Since the endorsement was issued, Eagle Forum has been through an ugly divisive shakeup, as members of the Eagle Forum Board of Directors met over the phone, and in a 6 to 5 vote, the majority of the board voted to oust Eagle Forum President Ed Martin and replace him with Schlafly's youngest daughter Anne Cori. Schlafly released a video stating she was "still in charge" of the organization, despite the board voting to make longtime Alabama Eagle Forum leader Eunie Smith interim board chairman.
Late Thursday afternoon, after Trump's comments on the Today Show conveying his willingness to amend the GOP platform, eyes turned to Schlafly for her response to what sounded like a betrayal. A statement issued by Republicans for Life, which Schlafly also founded, defended Trump, and criticized the Today Show host for trying to "trick" Trump.
"The reporter on the 'Today' show misrepresented the abortion plank in an effort to trick Donald Trump into disagreeing with other Republicans," the statement said. "Trump’s position on abortion is the same as every previous Republican nominee who ran on the current platform language."
And, anyway, the statement said, presidential candidates have little to do with the Platform.
"The Republican Platform was written by the grassroots and adopted by the 2012 Republican National Convention. Presidential candidates have no role in writing or adopting the Platform," the statement said.
The back and forth raised to a new level conservatives' concerns about Trump's views on abortion and his stated support for "the good" Planned Parenthood has done and why it should continue to be taxpayer-funded, just as supporters began referring to Trump as the "presumptive" GOP presidential nominee.