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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Social conservatives say they've gotten more from President Trump than from any other president. And a lot of it will last.

The big picture: Activists and advocates are happy with Trump’s policies. They are thrilled about his judicial confirmations. But what has really sent them over the moon, they say, is the way he talks about them and their issues — loudly, constantly and without reservation.

What they’re saying: “If I could just pick one, I would pick Trump every time. I would pick Trump over any other president in terms of his energy and his commitment and his follow-through,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List.

Trump has overseen a hard push to the right on abortion, LGBTQ rights and religious accommodations. Some of that, you might expect from any Republican president — but Trump has repeatedly upped the ante, going further than even his supporters expected.

  • One big example: Moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to move to Jerusalem, which had been a talking point on the right for years.

Evangelical voters "are not only not disappointed that they backed Trump, they will likely back him and support him in even higher numbers in 2020," said Ralph Reed, the founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition.

Some advocates said they couldn't imagine Mitt Romney or John McCain going as far as Trump has.

  • Even George W. Bush doesn’t measure up, some advocates said, even though he — unlike Trump — was personally a member of the religious right.

What Trump has done:

  • On abortion, Trump reinstated and expanded the so-called “Mexico City policy,” which says international organizations that receive U.S. funding cannot “perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning."
  • He eased Obama-era rules designed to protect Planned Parenthood’s funding.
  • His administration recently banned the use of fetal tissue in government-funded medical research.
  • On LGBTQ rights, Trump reversed the Obama administration’s decision to let transgender troops serve in combat.
  • The White House is planning to roll back Obama-era rules that require adoption agencies receiving federal funding to serve same-sex parents.
  • The administration has changed a legal interpretation so that it would no longer be a violation of federal civil rights law for doctors to discriminate against transgender patients.
  • A similar reinterpretation also cleared away nondiscrimination rules for housing.

What’s next: Some of Trump’s executive actions will likely only last as long as his administration. In many cases, he has reversed Obama-era policy decisions — some of which reversed Bush-era policy decisions, and which the next Democratic president could simply reverse again.

But Trump’s ability to reshape the courts will help him build a longer-lasting legacy in other areas — especially abortion.

  • Bush replaced one moderate Supreme Court justice who had voted to uphold Roe v. Wade — Sandra Day O’Connor.
  • But the true sea change didn't come until Trump replaced the last remaining swing justice, Anthony Kennedy, enshrining a solid conservative majority for years.
  • And the Senate has confirmed wave after wave of federal appeals judges, which will pull the courts to the right nationwide and shape the kinds of rulings that make it to the high court.
  • “That’s the most transformational thing he could possibly do, and we’ll be living with that for generations," Dannenfelser said.

Between the lines: Social conservatives supported Trump in 2016 — they weren’t that worried about how he would govern. And they knew Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would prioritize judges.

  • But, partly because Trump wasn’t a part of the community in his personal life, they weren’t necessarily expecting him to go all in for them. That part has been a surprise.
  • Dannenfelser noted that a big chunk of Trump's most recent State of the Union address was devoted to abortion, and praised the fervor with which he attacked Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam over an abortion bill in the state.

The bottom line: “It's been a stellar record," Reed said.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

2 hours ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."

Updated 3 hours ago - World

In reversal, Pentagon now says drone strike killed 10 Afghan civilians

Caskets for the dead are carried towards the gravesite as relatives and friends attend a mass funeral for members of a family that is said to have been killed in a U.S. drone airstrike, in Kabul on Aug. 30. Photo: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A U.S. drone strike launched on Aug. 29 killed 10 civilians in Afghanistan, including seven children, rather than the Islamic State extremists the Biden administration claimed it targeted, the Pentagon said Friday.

Why it matters: U.S. Central Command said at the time that officials "know" the drone strike "disrupted an imminent ISIS-K threat" to Kabul's airport, and that they were "confident we successfully hit the target."