George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday hit Donald Trump from the right, pressing the candidate on his long history of supporting abortion and on flip-flopping positions. Yet, when the Good Morning America co-host interviewed Hillary Clinton on January 13, he did not push the Democrat on her flip-flops.
Stephanopoulos played a Ted Cruz ad featuring Trump asserting, “I am pro-choice in every respect.” Speaking to Trump, he summarized Cruz's commercial: “We should not be surprised if as president he [Trump] does not defend the right to life.”
After Trump avoided answering about his abortion conversion, Stephanopoulos demanded, “Where is the lie in the ad? You used to be strongly pro-choice, now you say you're strongly pro-life. What I'm trying to pin down is what caused the conversion?”
While it’s standard for any objective journalist to grill a candidate on flip-flops, Stephanopoulos (who worked for Bill Clinton and donated $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation), did not do this when he interviewed Mrs. Clinton. Instead, he wondered if she bought a Powerball ticket.
There certainly are flip-flops to discuss with Clinton. As The Washington Times noted on October 12, 2015:
The last time Mrs. Clinton took the stage for a presidential debate, she was against same sex-marriage, a supporter of the Second Amendment, stood behind her Iraq War vote and was opposed to states issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. Flash forward to Tuesday in Las Vegas, and Mrs. Clinton enters as a backer of same-sex couples, a supporter of tighter federal gun control measures, has admitted her vote for the Iraq War was a “mistake” and is an advocate for illegal immigrations.
A transcript of the GMA segment is below:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Donald Trump joins us now by phone. Thank you for joining us, Mr. Trump. I want to pick up where Cecilia just left off. It seems like Fox News might be taunting you a little bit saying — suggesting you're showing fear about being questioned by Megyn Kelly in that debate.
DONALD TRUMP: No, I have no fear. I don't think she's a good professional. I don't think she's professional at all. She's very biased against me. I've done six debates now including one with her. I've won every one of them according to every online poll if you look at Drudge, if you look at —
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you will be there Thursday?
TRUMP: Excuse me?
STEPHANOPOULOS: You will be there Thursday.
TRUMP: Well, I'm making a decision. I think she's not a professional. I don't think she's a very talented person. I don't think she's a good reporter. I think they can do a lot better than that. I love doing the debates. I just do think they should get competent reporters, shouldn't use somebody like her.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, we should assume you’ll be there Thursday night.
TRUMP: She's not very good at what she does, I will tell you that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: We should assume you'll be there Thursday night?
TRUMP: Well, you can probably make that assumption, but I'm thinking about it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You talked about our latest poll. It shows 64 percent of Republicans now expect you to be the nominee. Which part of the job of president gives you the most pause?
TRUMP: Well, that's a very daunting task and we're in deep trouble, the country is a mess. You look at the Iran deal which is so sad. Now they're taking that money and spending it with everybody, else including terrorists, by the way. You saw that with Secretary Kerry the other day which was disgusting when he expects it to be given to terror. What's he making the deal for if they are going to give it to terror? You look at so many different aspects. Our economy, look at the stock market today and the worst opening in its history we've gone down so much. We're in a bubble and, you know, frankly if there's going to be a bubble popping I hope they pop before I become president because I don't want to inherit all this stuff. I'd rather have it the day before rather than the day after, I will tell you that.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Ted Cruz is coming at you hard in Iowa launching a new ad today in Iowa. Here's a part of it.
TIM RUSSERT: Would President Trump ban partial birth abortion.
TRUMP: I am pro-choice in every respect.
ANNOUNCER: And what does Trump think about Iowa?
TRUMP: How stupid are the people of Iowa?
STEPHANOPOULOS: He's backing that up on the stump saying a candidate who for 60 years supported partial birth abortion, we should not be surprised if as president he does not defend the right to life.
TRUMP: George, I'm pro-life. 100 percent. He knows it. Everybody knows it. And as far as the Iowa, I was talking about they were backing somebody and I didn't say just Iowa, I said the people of Iowa, I said the people of the United States. It's just like his last ad which he had to take down because he said I ripped down a woman's house which I didn't because of eminent domain. Eminent domain you wouldn't have roads, you wouldn't have highways, you wouldn't have hospitals without eminent domain. By the way, you wouldn’t have the Keystone Pipeline if it ever gets built so he really does get built. He's so nervous — I saw him the other day. He is so nervous, he is such a mess. His polls have gone down like I've never seen polls gone down. People realize he probably can't even run for president. He was born in Canada and now and now all of these constitutional lawyers are coming out —
STEPHANOPOULOS: But let me stop you there. Where is the lie in the ad? You used to be strongly pro-choice, now you say you’re strongly pro-life. What I’m trying to pin down is what caused the conversion?
TRUMP: I'm saying I'm pro-life and he's not making it that way. Yesterday, he said that I ripped down a woman's house for an economic development job. I never ripped down the house. I never — I decided I wouldn't do that. I mean, he's just saying lie after lie. It's so — it's not becoming and he's got a problem. He's got a very much bigger problem. There's a lot of people think he can't run for president. He was born in Canada. There are many constitutional scholars, including Laurence Tribe, including many others, I mean, I'm not even talking about Laurence Tribe of Harvard anymore. We have so many others that say flatly he is unable to run. Illinois has a problem. They might not be able to certify him because of it so he's got to get that straightened out otherwise he can't even run for office.
STEPHANOPOULOS: You have got a lot of top Republicans nervous including Haley Barbour saying the establishment should rally behind anyone not named Cruz or Trump after Iowa and New Hampshire. How do you respond?
TRUMP: Well, look, he's an old-time politician, up in my office looking for money for many times and he's an old-time politician who's losing his grip and, frankly, I haven't heard the name Haley Barbour mentioned in a year and a half and I guess people don't like to get out. The fact is whether they like it or not I'm in first place by a lot. Cruz is in second place. And a lot of that is because people are fed up with the old-time politicians like Haley Barbour that haven't done anything and you look, we have Barack Obama for the last eight years because of people like Haley Barbour that don't know what they're doing, frankly. They're only good for themselves. They are not good for the people.