Vice President Mike Pence said Tuesday that he still wants Roe v. Wade to be overturned, but declined to say if President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh will comply with the campaign promise to do away with the landmark ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.
Kavanaugh has not expressed outright opposition to Roe v. Wade, but abortion rights activists are alarmed that it could be on the chopping block if he is confirmed. During the 2016 campaign, Pence said that he hoped to see the ruling end up on “the ash heap of history,” while Trump predicted that Roe v. Wade would be overturned “automatically” if he appointed anti-abortion-rights justices to the court.
“I stand for the sanctity of life. This administration, this President are pro-life, but what the American people ought to know is that, as the President said today, this is not an issue he discussed with Judge Kavanaugh, I didn’t discuss it with him either,” Pence said in an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash that aired on “The Situation Room” when he was asked if he would be disappointed if Kavanaugh is given an opportunity to overturn Roe and does not.
When Bash asked Pence if he still wants to see Roe v. Wade overturned, the vice president responded, “I do, but I haven’t been nominated to the Supreme Court.”
Pence defended the government’s effort to reunite immigrant families separated at the border after Bash pointed out that the administration appeared poised to miss a court deadline to reunite children under the age of 5 with their parents and later asked, “Was there a plan?”
Pence defends effort to reunite separated families
“Of course there’s a plan,” Pence said. “At times when we prosecute people for entering our country illegally, they’re separated from their children for a period of time. Those children are dispatched to relatives or to foster care and we know where they are and there’s a plan to reunite them.”
CNN has reported that the administration managed to reunite fewer than half of the eligible separated migrant families in its care by a court-imposed deadline on Tuesday – as the fates of thousands more remain in limbo.
’I don’t think we have any illusions about Putin or about Russia’
Earlier on Tuesday, Trump had said he “can’t say” whether Russian President Vladimir Putin is a friend or foe. During the CNN interview, Pence similarly declined to label him an ally or an adversary, though the vice president said he doesn’t think the administration has “any illusions about Putin or about Russia.”
“How is somebody who your own intelligence community says was involved in meddling in American elections not a foe of America?” Bash asked.
“Well, I think the President’s word today was ‘competitor,’” Pence said.
“You don’t think he’s more than that – an actual adversary?” Bash pressed.
“I don’t think we have any illusions about Putin or about Russia,” Pence said.
He also said of a planned one-on-one meeting next Monday between Trump and Putin, “The meeting in Helsinki will be an opportunity for the President to sit down and, I think, evaluate the leader of Russia in a fresh way.”
CNN’s Tal Kopan contributed to this report.