So Stahl switched to an issue that is important to many of people, individuals both in and, like me, outside of the group: "Do you support marriage equality?" Trump said:
It’s irrelevant because it was already settled. It’s law. It was settled in the Supreme Court. I mean it’s done.Stahl tried to jump in with "So even if you appoint a judge that," and Trump just kept going, mentioning the Supreme Court, but only as an institution that has already done something. It's already decided:
It’s done. It-- you have-- these cases have gone to the Supreme Court. They’ve been settled. And, I’m fine with that.This is different — but not that different — from how he'd spoken a moment earlier about abortion and the Supreme Court. I say "not that different," because the question was framed differently for abortion:
Lesley Stahl: During the campaign, you said that you would appoint justices who were against abortion rights. Will you appoint-- are you looking to appoint a justice who wants to overturn Roe v. Wade?That's different from the demand for his opinion on same-sex marriage, "Do you support marriage equality?" Note that Trump did not answer the question asked. He only said it didn't matter, then pointed to the Court's past decision, which he said he was "fine with." I'd infer that he supports same-sex marriage or at least opposes upsetting the expectations that fell in place when the Court decided.
With abortion, the question was about whom he'd pick for the Court and whether that person was not just someone who personally opposes abortion but someone who "wants to overturn Roe v. Wade." That's a different question, and it was also a question he didn't answer:
Donald Trump: So look, here’s what’s going to happen-- I’m going to-- I’m pro-life. The judges will be pro-life. They’ll be very—Note that he first switched to his personal opinion — "I’m pro-life" — and then he addressed the nominees' — he pluralized it — opinion: They'll be very pro-life. Stahl then prodded him about whether they'd actually be for overturning the precedent (because one can be personally pro-life but still believe in keeping the precedent in place). Trump deflected the question again:
Well, there are a couple of things. They’ll be pro-life, they’ll be-- in terms of the whole gun situation, we know the Second Amendment and everybody’s talking about the Second Amendment and they’re trying to dice it up and change it, they’re going to be very pro-Second Amendment. But having to do with abortion if it ever were overturned, it would go back to the states. So it would go back to the states and--You might think he finally danced back to the question, but he did not. He only started explaining what would happen if Roe v. Wade were overturned, not whether he'd appoint a justice who "wants to overturn Roe v. Wade." This time, he succeeded in knocking Stahl off the question. We got this back-and-forth:
Lesley Stahl: Yeah, but then some women won’t be able to get an abortion?
Donald Trump: No, it’ll go back to the states.
Lesley Stahl: By state—no some --
Donald Trump: Yeah.
Donald Trump: Yeah, well, they’ll perhaps have to go, they’ll have to go to another state.
Lesley Stahl: And that’s OK?
Donald Trump: Well, we’ll see what happens. It’s got a long way to go, just so you understand. That has a long, long way to go.That's only about how people would deal with the loss of the constitutional right to have an abortion. Trump doesn't even concede that it would be "OK" to put women in the position of needing to travel farther to obtain an abortion. He gently puts the question away with the familiar colloquial phrase "we’ll see what happens." He pats the question to sleep with "long... long, long." I read that to mean what I already thought: He doesn't want Roe v. Wade to be overturned, and even as he wants pro-lifers to know he cares, he'd like pro-choicers not to worry too much.