It’s Monday, May 20, 2019. Let’s start here.
1. Abortion 2020
President Donald Trump weighed in on the growing national battle over abortion this weekend, distancing himself from Alabama’s law that effectively bans all abortions, with the issue likely to become a major factor in the buildup to the next election.
As most people know, and for those who would like to know, I am strongly Pro-Life, with the three exceptions – Rape, Incest and protecting the Life of the mother – the same position taken by Ronald Reagan. We have come very far in the last two years with 105 wonderful new…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2019
Republicans for decades have energized their base by vowing to overturn Roe v. Wade, but ABC News Deputy Political Director MaryAlice Parks notes that they run the risk of deepening a gender divide in the country if they succeed in getting the Supreme Court to consider the issue.
“In 2018, there was a strong argument that female candidates and female voters put Democrats over the edge, and that’s before this was even at the center of national news,” she tells “Start Here.”
2. ‘No plans’
The president also took to Twitter on Sunday to deny reports border officials are considering plans to transfer migrant families to cities around the country amid a massive influx of crossings at the southern border.
After local officials in South Florida raised concerns last week over reports Customs and Border Protection was planning to send as many as 1,000 migrants a month to Miami, CBP said in a statement this weekend there are “no plans” at the moment to transport migrants.
But those plans could still be on the table as immigration officials struggle to manage the surge, according to ABC News’ Anne Flaherty, who was briefed by the CBP on Friday.
“They have to find a place to put these people,” she tells us, “and if they’re at capacity, they said we have to start looking at our other border facilities. Where are the other border facilities? They’re in the northern states, they’re in the coastal states, and those border facilities are not seeing an emergency the way that the southern border is now.”
3. The last day
Last night’s series finale of “Game of Thrones” marked the end of an era, but don’t worry: no spoilers ahead.
Millions of people around the world tuned in for the conclusion after eight seasons, including The Ringer TV critic Alison Herman, who looks back at the show’s massive impact.
“‘Game of Thrones’ has stood out as an exception, and it only became more and more of an exception as the years have gone on,” she says on today’s podcast. “The more shows there are, the more special it is that there is this one show that ‘everyone watches’ on this big scale.”
“Start Here,” ABC News’ flagship podcast, offers a straightforward look at the day’s top stories in 20 minutes. Listen for free every weekday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or the ABC News app. Follow @StartHereABC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for exclusive content and show updates.
‘The official end of Iran’: The president threatens a country.
‘Impeachable conduct’: A Republican congressman strongly criticizes the president, who responds by calling him “a loser.”
‘Sincere condolences’: Four Americans die in a plane crash off Honduras.
‘Waterways as governed by international law’: A U.S. destroyer conducts a Freedom of Navigation Operation in the South China Sea near disputed territory.
From our friends at FiveThirtyEight:
A lot of Americans say they don’t want a president who is over 70. Really?: About 1,000 adults were asked whether they’d vote for a well-qualified candidate who was nominated by their party and was black, gay or had one of 10 other characteristics that are rarely or never seen in presidential nominees. Almost all Americans said they’d be comfortable voting for a woman (94%), or a Catholic (95%), Hispanic (95%) or black (96%) candidate. But there are characteristics that big swaths of Americans said would be disqualifying — in particular being older than 70, being an atheist and being a socialist.
Doff your cap:
Today, it’s graduation caps that shall be doffed.
Robert Smith, a billionaire with degrees from Cornell University and Columbia Business School, received an honorary degree from Morehouse on Sunday and celebrated, in part, by making a $40 million pledge to pay off the student loans of the 2019 Morehouse graduating class.
“On behalf of the eight generations of my family who have been in this country, we’re going to put a little fuel in your bus,” Smith told the 396 graduates in a surprise announcement. “Now, I know my class will make sure they pay this forward. I want my class to look at these alumni, these beautiful Morehouse brothers, and let’s make sure every class has the same opportunity going forward.”