Hundreds of Christian conservative leaders, including Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis, will meet behind closed doors with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Tuesday in Manhattan.
“My goal is to ask Mr. Trump specific questions regarding his views on abortion and the role the president plays within this debate. What will be his actual thought process in nominating judges to the (U.S. Supreme) Court? Publishing a list of prospects is great, but pro-lifers want to learn his motivations and goals to reach these conclusions,” said Gonidakis, who is a John Kasich delegate at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.
Gonidakis said he also wants to hear from Trump on how he plans to win Ohio. No Republican has won the White House without winning Ohio.
Time magazine, the first outlet to report on the upcoming meeting, said the 400 invitees include officials from Family Research Council, United in Purpose, American Values, Focus on the Family, and Family Leader.
Ohio Right to Life said the group of conservatives won’t be making any joint endorsements or statements. Rather, the meeting is designed to allow anti-abortion leaders and Trump to learn more about each other.
Trump won primaries in socially conservative states but has yet to win endorsements from key evangelical leaders, who are leery of the mega real estate mogul and reality TV star who has been married three times.
When asked on a radio show in April what his favorite Bible verse is, Trump said “eye for an eye” from the Old Testament. In February, he tangled with Pope Francis, who suggested that Trump is “not Christian” because of his plan to deport millions of people and build a wall along the border with Mexico.
When it comes to abortion, Trump’s stances have shifted over the years.
In a 1999 interview on NBC Meet the Press, Trump said while he hates the concept of abortion, “I’m very pro-choice” and he added that he would not ban partial-birth abortions.
In 2011, while talking to conservatives about a run for president, Trump declared that he is anti-abortion.
In 2016 in an interview with MSNBC, he said if abortion were illegal, there would have to be criminal punishment for women who terminate their pregnancies. His campaign quickly amended that statement, saying it would be the doctors who should face punishment.
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