Tomi Lahren, the 24-year-old conservative host of the show “Tomi” on the Blaze, has fiercely criticized the feminist movement. In her trademark fast-talking rants, the commentator has called modern-day feminists selfish, man-hating “snowflakes” and said that “real women don’t wake up and skip work to march for abortions.”
Lahren, an avid Trump supporter, has been called incendiary. It is not unusual for her appearances to incite outrage from the left. But over the weekend, her words provoked fury from an unlikely segment of Americans: the right.
Appearing on “The View” on Friday, Lahren admitted that she supports abortion rights, saying it would be hypocritical of her to believe the government should decide what women should do with their bodies.
“You know what? I’m for limited government, so stay out of my guns, and you can stay out of my body as well,” Lahren said.
Even the show’s hosts appeared shocked to hear her. Across social media, antiabortion advocates said it was impossible for Lahren to be both conservative and in favor of abortion rights. They criticized her interpretation of the Constitution and called her out for seemingly contradicting previous remarks about abortion. Some claimed, as they have before, that by rising to prominence so young she lacked an understanding of political philosophy and ideology.
But the provocative commentator defended herself, tweeting Saturday, “Listen, I am not glorifying abortion. I don’t personally advocate for it. I just don’t think it’s the government’s place to dictate.”
“I speak my truth,” she added on Twitter. “If you don’t like it, tough. I will always be honest and stand in my truth.”
“Conservatives don’t have to exist in a monolith and share the same brain on every issue,” Lahren tweeted. “It’s okay.”
Lahren’s viral monologues on her nightly show for the Blaze, created by conservative media personality Glenn Beck, have landed her appearances with Bill Maher and Trevor Noah, lured nearly 4.3 million followers to her Facebook page and invited praise from President Trump. Trump was so taken by one of her recent appearances that he called her to thank her for her “fair coverage” of him.
A native of South Dakota and a daughter of military and ranching families, Lahren is the self-proclaimed voice for Middle America and conservative women who feel underrepresented and overlooked by the mainstream media. Trevor Noah called her “the least woke, most awake person” he’s ever seen.
Although she’s made her name with incendiary monologues, Friday’s interview was not the first time Lahren has opened up about more complex, or even moderate, political views.
In a segment about three months ago regarding Lena Dunham’s controversial comments on abortion, Lahren admitted that abortion is not her “top issue” and said the abortion rights movement avoids “sounding like straight-up baby killers” by acknowledging that abortion is a difficult choice.
“Boy, wouldn’t it be nice if taxpayers didn’t have to shell out our hard-earned dollars to pay for the wishful abortions of people like Lena Dunham? Wouldn’t it be nice if Planned Parenthood weren’t allowed to wheel and deal fetal tissue from abortions it performs?”
Those remarks made Friday’s admission, and previous ones, confusing for some. In a New York Times profile in December, she said she favored abortion rights and does not object to same-sex marriage. She declined to call herself spiritual, joking that “spiritual sounds like you worship the grass,” but said she believed in God and prays every night. She also criticized organized religion as being “about hierarchy, power, control and greed” yet moments later said, “The institution of religion is important.”
Before joining the Blaze, on a show called “The Scramble” that she hosted through her college journalism program, she led panels on many issues with a more moderate stance, including a discussion she moderated about climate change, which she said was an agreed-upon scientific consensus. (She has, in more recent segments on her show, blasted the idea of climate change, calling it simply “bad weather.”)
“I have moderate, conservative, and libertarian views,” she tweeted over the weekend. “I’m human. I will never apologize, to anyone, for being an independent thinker.”
Conservative writers and social media accounts blasted her explanation for her abortion rights stance and criticized her with headlines such as “Flip-flop.”
On the conservative blog the Resurgent, Peter Heck compared Lahren to other young stars who grapple with a “meteoric” rise to fame, in a culture that “bizarrely worships youth and beauty.”
“There’s a reason why it usually doesn’t end well when someone who lacks any meaningful or serious understanding of political philosophy and ideology is thrust in front of a camera and promoted as a conservative spokesman,” Heck wrote. “They are pitifully unprepared to exercise the disciplines of reason and discernment.”
He went on to criticize Lahren’s “constitutional” defense of why she supports abortion rights.
“The great conservatives have always understood that the intrinsic worth of the individual was the foundation point of all we believe and espouse,” Heck wrote. “Without the right to life, there is no liberty, and there is no happiness to pursue.”
One of the most surprising responses was from that of the Blaze founder, Glenn Beck, who tweeted out Heck’s article on the Resurgent.
He went on to say on Twitter, “Rule another label out. I am NOT a ‘constitutional.’ I believe in LIFE, liberty and property. Just an old fashioned ‘constitutionalist.’”