Tucker Carlson: Trump is ‘not capable’ of defunding Planned Parenthood, despite promise
December 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Conservative commentator Tucker Carlson had some tough words for Donald Trump in a recent interview with Swiss media, expressing doubts that the president has the ability to deliver the central promises of his campaign.
The Fox News host and Daily Caller cofounder is aligned with many of Trump’s policy positions, has defended the president against various media narratives he considers to be false or misleading, and is a frequent critic of many of the political figures and groups Trump campaigned against.
But Carlson doesn’t shy away from criticizing those he considers ineffective champions of those goals, which included Trump in an interview last week with the Swiss weekly Weltwoche.
When asked if Trump has “kept his promises” and “achieved his goals,” Carlson responded simply, “no.”
“His chief promises were that he would build the wall, defund Planned Parenthood, and repeal Obamacare, and he hasn't done any of those things,” he explained. “I don't think he's capable of sustained focus. I don't think he understands the system. I don't think the Congress is on his side. I don't think his own agencies support him.”
Carlson noted that America’s Founding Fathers designed the legislative process to be “highly complex” in order to diffuse government power, so in order to pass legislation “you really have to understand how it works and you have to be very focused on getting it done.” Trump, by contrast, “knows very little about the legislative process, hasn't learned anything, hasn't and surrounded himself with people that can get it done.”
That’s not to say Carlson doesn’t still see the president performing a vital service, however. “I think Trump's role is to begin the conversation about what actually matters,” he said, citing immigration, trade, and NATO as examples of issues on which Trump ignited debate by asking “basic questions.”
It isn’t true that Trump has done nothing to defund Planned Parenthood; he has reinstated and expanded the ban on foreign aid to abortion-involved groups (including International Planned Parenthood Federation), disqualified groups that commit or refer abortions from Title X family planning funds, overturned an Obama regulation that barred states from defunding Planned Parenthood, and issued rules protecting Americans from being forced to subsidize abortion in government-mandated health insurance plans.
Planned Parenthood’s core subsidies remain, however. Legislation that would have defunded the abortion giant while repealing much of Obamacare passed the U.S. House of Representatives last year, but died in the Senate thanks to the opposition of GOP Sens. Susan Collins, Rand Paul, and John McCain. Trump occasionally called for changing the filibuster rules that kept Republicans from attempting a standalone Planned Parenthood bill, but didn’t give the matter “sustained focus.”
Beyond that, the Republican-controlled Congress sent the president multiple budgets that continued Planned Parenthood’s $543.7 million in government funding. Trump threatened to veto some of them over multiple issues, but ultimately relented and signed them. With Democrats taking control of the House in January, defunding Planned Parenthood is unlikely to happen in the next two years.
This isn’t the first time Tucker Carlson has criticized Republicans’ handling of the pro-life and pro-family causes. Last month, he delivered a monologue warning that the GOP lost in the midterm elections partly because it’s forgotten, in his view, that “a country without strong families is a weak country.”