Posted BY: John Daniel Davidson

The left’s reaction to the Supreme Court’s historic decision last week overturning Roe v. Wade has been uniformly appalling but not at all surprising: violencecalls for more violencecalls to pack the court, ignore its decisions, dissolve it. In other words, about what you’d expect from people who want to destroy every institution they don’t control.

On the right, the reaction has been rather more mixed, mainly because of the cowardice and intellectual dishonesty of the Never Trump faction, whose leading lights can’t bring themselves to give credit to former President Donald Trump for accomplishing what the Republican establishment could not.

Make no mistake: without Trump, Roe would still be on the books. No other Republican candidate could have beaten Hillary Clinton in 2016, and no other GOP president would have yielded the results Trump did once in office.

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Trump didn’t just deliver three solid originalist justices to the Supreme Court, he did so despite enormous pressure from Democrats and the media — pressure that any other politician almost certainly would have submitted to. Would any other Republican president have stood by Brett Kavanaugh amid the orchestrated smear campaign against him, or nominated someone like Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg less than six weeks before the 2020 presidential election? Of course not, and everyone knows it.

Trump was able to do these things precisely because he possesses qualities his Never Trump critics most deplore: combativeness, a disdain for the media, political instincts that told him the Supreme Court was of paramount importance to his conservative base and that he needed to deliver on the promises he made.

Indeed, crediting Trump for his central role in the overturning of Roe should not be a heavy lift, even for those who are no fans of the former president. You can think of him as a kind of Balaam’s ass, if you like, and still recognize the essential part he played. 

For Never Trumpers like Bill Kristol, the easiest way to avoid this reckoning is simple hypocrisy. Just write the opposite of what you wrote in the past, and blame Trump for your intellectual dishonesty.