Former President Donald J. Trump, whose Supreme Court appointments led to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, harshly criticized his high rival within the Republican presidential major, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, for a six-week abortion ban that he referred to as a “terrible thing.”
Mr. Trump issued his broadside — which might flip off socially conservative Republican major voters, particularly in Iowa, the place evangelicals are a vital voting bloc — throughout an interview with the brand new host of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Kristen Welker, that was broadcast on Sunday morning.
Asked whether or not Mr. DeSantis went too far by signing a six-week abortion ban, Mr. Trump replied: “I think what he did is a terrible thing and a terrible mistake.”
Since saying his candidacy final November — only a week after Republicans underperformed expectations in midterm elections formed by a backlash in opposition to the overturning of the abortion ruling — there was no coverage concern on which Mr. Trump has appeared extra uncomfortable than on abortion.
In interview after interview for the reason that repeal of the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, Mr. Trump has ducked questions on whether or not he would help a federal ban on most abortions at 15 weeks — the baseline place of many Republicans, together with the main anti-abortion group, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America.
With Ms. Welker on Sunday, Mr. Trump once more refused to make clear his place.
“What’s going to happen is you’re going to come up with a number of weeks or months,” Mr. Trump mentioned. “You’re going to come up with a number that’s going to make people happy.”
He made a far-fetched promise that as president he would “sit down with both sides” and negotiate a deal on abortion that will end in “peace on that issue for the first time in 52 years.”
In actuality, Mr. Trump — who years in the past mentioned he supported abortion rights earlier than switching his place in 2011 as he thought-about a presidential marketing campaign that 12 months — appointed three conservative justices to the Supreme Court, offering a majority to reverse the Roe ruling. Democrats have made clear they plan to make Mr. Trump’s position in Roe’s finish a key focus within the 2024 basic election if he’s the nominee.
What’s extra, Iowa’s in style Republican governor, Kim Reynolds, signed a measure just like the one Mr. DeSantis made regulation. A spokesman for Ms. Reynolds didn’t reply to a request for remark.
“This further confirms to Iowans this is not the same Trump we once knew,” mentioned Steve Deace, a conservative Iowa discuss present host who has endorsed Mr. DeSantis. “This Trump only attacks Republicans from the left.”
Mr. Trump’s advisers are conscious that abortion was a political loser for Republicans within the 2022 midterm cycle. Mr. Trump himself, when a draft of the court docket opinion undoing Roe leaked publicly, informed advisers it could damage his get together’s electoral probabilities.
So as he appears to be like forward to the overall election, Mr. Trump — the front-runner for his get together’s nomination by a large margin in nationwide polls — has tried to keep away from taking a transparent place within the hopes of not alienating further voters.
“I’m almost like a mediator in this case,” Mr. Trump informed Ms. Welker. Pushed on whether or not he would help a federal ban, he mentioned: “It could be state or it could be federal. I don’t frankly care.”
Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of S.B.A. Pro-Life America, who had beforehand described Mr. Trump’s presidency as “the most consequential in American history for the pro-life cause,” indicated she was lower than thrilled by Mr. Trump’s assault on Mr. DeSantis’s anti-abortion laws. Yet she didn’t immediately criticize him for it.
“We’re at a moment where we need a human rights advocate, someone who is dedicated to saving lives of children and serving mothers in need,” Ms. Dannenfelser mentioned on Sunday morning in response to Mr. Trump’s feedback on “Meet the Press.” “Every single candidate should be clear on how they plan to do that.”
She added, “It begins with focusing on extremes of the other side, and ambition and common sense on our own. Anything weaker than 15 weeks as a federal minimum standard makes no sense in this context.”
A spokesman for Mr. DeSantis, Andrew Romeo, responded to Mr. Trump’s assault by criticizing the previous president for suggesting he might negotiate with Democrats on abortion, including that the “disastrous results of Donald Trump compromising with Democrats” whereas he was president included “$7 trillion in new debt” and “an unfinished border wall.”
Former Vice President Mike Pence, a strict social conservative who has run to the best of everybody within the Republican presidential discipline on the abortion concern, solid his former working mate’s feedback in stark ethical phrases.
“Donald Trump continues to walk away from the pro-life legacy of our administration,” Mr. Pence mentioned in a press release Sunday morning. “There’s no negotiating when it comes to the life of the unborn. We will not rest, we will not relent, until the sanctity of life is restored to the center of American law in every state in the nation.”