President Donald Trump called it his “profound honor” on Friday to be the first president to attend the annual anti-abortion gathering in Washington called the March for Life.
President Donald Trump has become the first US president to attend America’s largest annual anti-abortion rally.
Trump on Friday reiterated his support for tighter abortion restrictions, pledging at the annual March for Life rally in Washington that “unborn children have never had a stronger defender in the White House.”
Trump, making history as the first President to attend the event since it began nearly a half-century ago, addressed thousands of protesters at the March for Life near the US Capitol, where he vowed support for anti-abortion movement at March for Life rally.
Mr Trump said: “We’re here for a very simple reason: to defend the right of every child born and unborn to fullfil their God-given potential.”
He used his remarks to not only express support for the movement but to paint those supportive of looser abortion laws as radicals. “Together we are the voice for the voiceless,” he said.
The annual demonstration first began in 1974 – a year after the US Supreme Court legalised abortion in Roe v Wade.
Until now no president had ever attended the march, which takes place just steps from the White House, though previous Republican presidents, including George W Bush and Ronald Reagan, have addressed the group remotely.
Mike Pence became the first sitting vice-president to attend the rally in 2017.
Mr Trump’s appearance at the 47th March for Life delighted protesters.
Voters who support limiting abortion make up a key constituency for Mr Trump, who is seeking their support at the polls again in the 2020 election.
On Friday, marchers in Washington shouted “four more years” and “we love you”.
On the streets surrounding the National Mall vendors selling Trump flags and Make America Great Again hats were aplenty. Many of the attendees sported pro-Trump merchandise, though for some, there was a distinction between liking the president and liking his anti-abortion stance, according to BBC.
“Every life brings love into this world. Every child brings joy to a family. Every person is worth protecting,” Trump said, prompting loud cheers from the many thousands attending the march.
Hundreds of thousands of pro-life Americans made their voices heard this month. We are a pro-life generation. Thank you for marching for life!— March for Life (@March_for_Life) January 25, 2020
Join us again at the March for Life on January 29, 2021. #whywemarch pic.twitter.com/ku3ALtJAng
“I think it’s a brilliant move,” said Ralph Reed, chair of the Faith and Freedom Coalition and one of Trump’s most prominent evangelical supporters. Reed said the president’s appearance would “energize and remind pro-life voters what a great friend this president and administration has been.”
It also shows how much times have changed.
Past presidents who opposed abortion, including Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, steered clear of personally attending the march to avoid being too closely associated with demonstrators eager to outlaw the procedure. They sent remarks for others to deliver, spoke via telephone hookup or invited organizers to visit the White House.