VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia – As Donald Trump seeks to shore up conservative support ahead of Super Tuesday, he has one word for the kind of Supreme Court justice he’d nominate as president.
“Pro-life,” Trump told Pat Robertson at Regent University here, where the GOP front-runner campaigned Wednesday, turning his attention to the crucial swing state of Virginia ahead of its primary next week.
The answer both rebuts Sen. Ted Cruz – who has campaigned against Trump’s support of abortion in the 1990s and said he’d wouldn’t be surprised if Trump nominated judges who supported it too – and helps drum up support among the evangelical voters who helped deliver Trump decisive wins in South Carolina and Nevada.
“Very smart – like Judge Scalia would be a perfect, he was a perfect representative,” Trump continued. “I’ve always said Justice Thomas doesn’t get enough credit. And Judge Alito is a terrific guy. So in that realm is what we’re talking about for me.”
Trump also took a shot at Cruz, blaming the Texas senator who shut the government down over Obamacare for making sure the legislation survived the Supreme Court.
“If you look at Justice Roberts, he could have killed Obamacare twice,” Trump said.” The one that pushed him harder than anybody was Cruz, Sen. Cruz. So Sen. Cruz gave us Obamacare in a true sense.”
With his polling lead slim here — and the state’s delegates dolled out proportionately — Trump needs to get his voters out in force, and he shied from gloating at the event or acting as if he were the inevitable nominee.
Still, his supporters seemed delighted by his recent victories.
“I don’t know how he could lose it at this point,” Frank Meadows, 62, told MSNBC Wednesday while waiting in line to see Trump speak at Regent. “The waters are parting for him.”
Trump, once thought to be a sideshow and a media mirage, has swept three of four early states and racked up nearly five times as many delegates as anyone else. The billionaire real estate developer got more votes in Nevada Tuesday than all the 2012 Republican candidates combined in the last cycle’s poorly attended caucuses.
“It’s going to be an amazing two months,” Trump said, pivoting to March’s fast-and-furious slew of primaries. “We might not even need the two months, to be honest.”
In a nod to the candidate’s momentum, Trump’s first two congressional endorsements swept in: New York’s Rep. Chris Collins told the Buffalo News he felt Trump had the “guts and the fortitude” to lead, and Politico reported that California Rep. Duncan Hunter had given the front-runner his nod, too.
Two pairs of identical twins – sisters in matching white ponchos with American flag hats, and one of the women’s twin sons in matching khakis – who dubbed themselves “twins for Trump” said they were confident their candidate had what it took to go all the way.
“He’s got it, he’s got it,” Jan Arnold told MSNBC, while her sister Jill Jenkins nodded.
“I think he does,” Tristan Jenkins agreed.
“After Nevada, he does,” Tanner Jenkins added.