Donald Trump is facing the dissent of some anti-abortion activists for refusing to commit to national abortion restrictions and for calling Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' signing of a six-week ban on the procedure a “terrible mistake.”
Speaking Sunday on NBC's “Meet the Press,” Trump declined to say whether he would support a federal ban on abortion. He said he could “live with” the procedure being banned by individual states or nationwide through federal action, though he said "from a legal standpoint, I think it’s probably better” to be handled at the state level.
Regarding the bill signed by DeSantis, which bans abortions before many women know they are pregnant, Trump said, “I think what he did is a terrible thing and a terrible mistake.”
So far, the former president has dominated the 2024 field, but it's important to note that anti-abortion groups traditionally have huge influence in Republican primaries.
The question: Will Trump’s direct attack on DeSantis, whom he’s long treated as his chief rival, give the Florida governor new fodder as he tries to regain momentum in his struggling campaign?.
Posting on X, formerly known as Twitter, DeSantis campaign spokesman Bryan Griffin wrote of Trump: “If you want to appease Democrats, here’s your guy. If you want to defeat the Democrats in 2024, (DeSantis) is the only choice.”
Another campaign spokesman, Andrew Romeo, distributed to reporters a roundup of conservative groups criticizing Trump and accused him of repeatedly compromising with Democrats.
“Republicans across the country know that Ron DeSantis will never back down,” Romeo said.
The country's largest anti-abortion organization, which backs a national ban on abortions at 15 weeks of pregnancy, quickly released a statement saying anything less restrictive "makes no sense.”
“We’re at a moment where we need a human rights advocate, someone who is dedicated to saving the lives of children and serving mothers in need. Every single candidate should be clear on how they plan to do that," said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America.
The Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v. Wade left the decision of whether and how to restrict abortion to the states, creating a patchwork of laws across the country, with most Republican-led states imposing new restrictions and states led by Democrats passing protections. Twenty-five million women of childbearing age now live in states where abortions are more difficult to get than before the ruling.
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