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The abortion question Trump vowed to answer (but still hasn’t)

Will Donald Trump allow women to get the abortion pill mifepristone through the mail? He set a deadline to answer the question — and it's passed.

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Donald Trump has a variety of rhetorical tropes, but none is as tiresome as his “two-week” trick. It’s a tactic the former president has relied on with unnerving frequency: The Republican is asked for his position on an issue; he dodges the question by saying he’ll make an announcement “in two weeks”; and then he waits for everyone to forget his self-imposed deadline.

Where’s Trump’s health care plan? It’ll be ready in “two weeks.” What about a possible minimum-wage increase? That, too, will be unveiled in “two weeks.” On everything from tax policy to infrastructure to immigration, the former president’s bold ideas are always just “two weeks” away.

With this in mind, Trump sat down with Time magazine’s Eric Cortellessa on April 12, and as part of the interview, the reporter asked, “Do you think women should be able to get the abortion pill mifepristone?” The presumptive GOP nominee acted as if his position was a secret.

“Well, I have an opinion on that, but I’m not going to explain,” Trump said. “I’m not gonna say it yet. But I have pretty strong views on that.”

At this point, Cortellessa reminded the former president that his allies “have called for enforcement of the Comstock Act, which prohibits the mailing of drugs used for abortions by mail.” He concluded, “Would your Department of Justice enforce it?” Trump, predictably, then turned to his go-to move:

“I will be making a statement on that over the next 14 days. ... Yeah, I have a big statement on that. I feel very strongly about it. I actually think it’s a very important issue.”

Fifteen days later, the Time magazine reporter had a follow-up conversation with the Republican, reminding him of his earlier commitment. “Last time we spoke, you said you had an announcement coming over the next two weeks regarding your policy on the abortion pill mifepristone,” Cortellessa said on April 27. “You haven’t made an announcement yet. Would you like to do so now?”

Trump replied, “No, I haven’t. I’ll be doing it over the next week or two.”

Mother Jones’ Julianne McShane noted that Time published the interview on April 30 — which was two weeks ago yesterday. And still there’s been no announcement.

To be sure, it’s possible that the Trump campaign is putting the finishing touches on a detailed policy statement, which will be released to the public at any moment, but my advice to observers is simple: Don’t hold your breath.

The whole point of the deceptive two-week trick is to push off inconvenient questions indefinitely. If Trump were pressed today for an answer to the same question, he’d likely say once more that he’ll have something for us “over the next week or two” — until a couple of weeks go by, at which point he’d peddle the same line, starting the cycle anew.

That said, if Trump wins the election, Americans will get an answer to the underlying question — shortly after he returns to the White House and starts implementing a regressive agenda.