In play for right-wing votes, Trump hires a champion of Christian conservatism
As the realization dawns on social conservatives that Donald Trump will be crowned the Republican nominee at the Grand Old Party’s convention in July, the reality TV star-turned-politician is making a play for hardline right-wingers, hiring staunch conservative John Mashburn as his campaign’s policy director.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the prominent antichoice organization Susan B. Anthony List, heralded the move as an “excellent hire, especially for the pro-life movement and our legislative priorities.”
“I have known and respected John Mashburn for many years,” Dannenfelser wrote on his website. “He is a smart strategist with deep pro-life roots. John is well-respected across every issue set. For him, the life issue is foundational and one which helped draw him into politics.”
Mashburn, whom Concerned Women for America’s Penny Nance described as “a rock solid pro-lifer,” has made a career of fighting for conservative values; in the ’80s, he led the campaign against the National Endowment for the Arts over Andres Serrano’s “Piss Christ” photo. He’s also worked for a series of Republian leaders and policy think tanks.
Trump’s play for the antichoice vote is unsurprising as he tries to convince social conservatives he will fight for the causes central to the party platform. Trump, who admits he used to be pro-choice and is now “pro-life, but with caveats,” has sparked outcry with his stances on some social issues, including his support of transgender bathroom rights.
At least for now, the hire of Mashburn will ensure his platform aligns more smoothly with the social conservctices that make up a large portion of the Republican Party base. “If elected, no doubt John Mashburn will serve you well as you fulfill your campaign promises to defund Planned Parenthood, advance and sign into law the popular Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and appoint Justices to the bench who will protect and defend the Constitution,” Dannenfelser wrote.
Elizabeth Preza is an AlterNet staff writer focusing on politics, media and cultural criticism. Follow her on Twitter @lizacisms.