'I think what he did is a terrible thing and a terrible mistake,' the former president said.Former President Donald Trump sparked backlash from conservatives after he criticized the six-week abortion ban of his Republican opponent, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
During an interview on MSNBC's "Meet the Press" over the weekend, Trump was pressed on his abortion stance as voters turn their attention toward the 2024 presidential election.
Trump, the frontrunner of the GOP primary, said that he would work with Democrats to pass abortion legislation before taking aim at his presidential race rival DeSantis' six-week ban in the Sunshine State.
"I think they're all going to like me, I think both sides are going to like me," Trump said. "??¦What's going to happen is: you're going to come up with a number of weeks or months, you're going to come up with a number that's going to make people happy."
"Because 92 percent of the Democrats don't want to see abortion after a certain period of time," the former president added.
Trump was pressed on whether he would sign a 15-week federal abortion ban if it came across his desk.
"Well, people are starting to think of 15 weeks, that seems to be a number that people are talking about right now," he responded, being asked again if he would sign it.
"I would sit down with both sides and I'd negotiate something, and we'll end up with peace on that issue for the first time in 52 years," the former president said. "I'm not going to say I would or I wouldn't."
"I mean, 'DeSanctus' [DeSantis] is willing to sign a five-week and six-week ban," Trump said in response to whether he would support that level of ban and if he thought it goes too far.
"I think what he did is a terrible thing and a terrible mistake," the former president responded.
Trump's campaign did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital's request for comment.
Users online blasted Trump over his comments, with conservatives saying the abortion issue may hurt him going into 2024.
"Huh. That's odd. I remember being in the crowd when Trump spoke at the March for Life," pro-life activist Nicholas Sandmann tweeted.
"I commended the President for an amazing speech. He said: 'We cannot know what our citizens yet unborn will achieve. The dreams they will imagine. The masterpieces they will create??¦" he continued.
"Pathetic and unacceptable. Trump is actively attacking the very pro-life laws made possible by Roe's overturning," pro-life activist Lila Rose wrote.
"Heartbeat Laws have saved thousands of babies. But Trump wants to compromise on babies' lives so pro-abort Dems 'like him,'" she continued. "Trump should not be the GOP nominee."
"Trump should fire whatever idiot advisor told him to go squishy on abortion. Dumb move. Abortion zealots are never gonna vote Trump just because he's willing to 'compromise.' And innocent babies will be killed in the process," "The Liz Wheeler Show" host Liz Wheeler posted. "Lose lose. Trump isn't a centrist. His best move is and always will be to stay based and savage. Hate to see this garbage from him."
SBA Pro-Life America President Marjorie Dannenfelser responded to Trump's comments by saying, "We thank Gov. Ron DeSantis for following the science and the will of the people by signing the Heartbeat Protection Act into law"
The former president's comments come as he seeks a third candidacy for the Oval Office against his onetime protege DeSantis and a multitude of GOP and Democratic presidential hopefuls.
DeSantis has been fighting to close the gap with Trump from his number two position in the GOP primary as former Vice President Mike Pence competes for the GOP presidential nomination as well.
Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy are also fighting for the GOP nod and met DeSantis on the debate stage last month.
themes: Donald Trump Florida
'A Terrible Mistake': Trump Criticizes DeSantis on Abortion Ban
Former President Donald J. Trump, whose Supreme Court appointments led to the overturning of Roe v. Wade, harshly criticized his top rival in the Republican presidential primary, Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, for a six-week abortion ban that he called a "terrible thing."
Mr. Trump issued his broadside - which could turn off socially conservative Republican primary voters, especially in Iowa, where evangelicals are a crucial voting bloc - during an interview with the new host of NBC's "Meet the Press," Kristen Welker, that was broadcast on Sunday morning.
Asked whether Mr. DeSantis went too far by signing a six-week abortion ban, Mr. .....
Since announcing his candidacy last November - just a week after Republicans underperformed expectations in midterm elections shaped by a backlash against the overturning of the abortion ruling - there has been no policy issue on which Mr. Trump has appeared more uncomfortable than on abortion.
In interview after interview since the repeal of the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, Mr. Trump has ducked questions about whether he would support a federal ban on most abortions at 15 weeks - the baseline position of many Republicans, including the leading anti-abortion group, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America.
With Ms. Welker on Sunday, Mr. Trump again refused to clarify his position.
"What's going to happen is you're going to come up with a number of weeks or months," Mr. Trump said. "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 would result in "peace on that issue for the first time in 52 years."
In reality, Mr. Trump - who years ago said he supported abortion rights before switching his position in 2011 as he considered a presidential campaign that year - appointed three conservative justices to the Supreme Court, providing a majority to reverse the Roe ruling. Democrats have made clear they plan to make Mr. Trump's role in Roe's end a key focus in the 2024 general election if he is the nominee.
What's more, Iowa's popular Republican governor, Kim Reynolds, signed a measure similar to the one Mr. DeSantis made law. A spokesman for Ms. Reynolds did not respond to a request for comment.
"This further confirms to Iowans this is not the same Trump we once knew," said Steve Deace, a conservative Iowa talk show host who has endorsed Mr. DeSantis. "This Trump only attacks Republicans from the left."
Mr. Trump's advisers are mindful that abortion was a political loser for Republicans in the 2022 midterm cycle. Mr. Trump himself, when a draft of the court opinion undoing Roe leaked publicly, told advisers it would hurt his party's electoral chances.
So as he looks ahead to the general election, Mr. Trump - the front-runner for his party's nomination by a wide margin in national polls - has tried to avoid taking a clear position in the hopes of not alienating additional voters.
"I'm almost like a mediator in this case," Mr. Trump told Ms. Welker. Pushed on whether he would support a federal ban, he said: "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 previously described Mr. Trump's presidency as "the most consequential in American history for the pro-life cause," indicated she was less than thrilled by Mr. Trump's attack on Mr. DeSantis's anti-abortion legislation. Yet she did not directly 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 said on Sunday morning in response to Mr. Trump's comments 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 attack by criticizing the former president for suggesting he could negotiate with Democrats on abortion, adding that the "disastrous results of Donald Trump compromising with Democrats" while 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 right of everyone in the Republican presidential field on the abortion issue, cast his former running mate's comments in stark moral terms.
"Donald Trump continues to walk away from the pro-life legacy of our administration," Mr. Pence said in a statement 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."
Trump Slams DeSantis' Abortion Ban as 'A Terrible Mistake'
..... As the frontrunner in the GOP primary, Trump stated that he would work with Democrats to pass abortion legislation and criticized DeSantis' six-week ban in Florida.
Trump suggested that a number of weeks or months could be determined to make both sides happy, referencing the fact that 92 percent of Democrats do not support abortion after a certain period of time. When asked if he would sign a 15-week federal abortion ban, Trump said he would negotiate with both sides and seek peace on the issue, without explicitly stating his position.
Conservatives criticized Trump for his comments, with some saying that compromising on abortion would not win him the support of abortion advocates. Pro-life activists expressed disappointment in Trump's willingness to compromise on pro-life laws and called for him to remain steadfast in his stance.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, the President of SBA Pro-Life America, thanked Governor DeSantis for signing the Heartbeat Protection Act into law and indirectly responded to Trump's comments by emphasizing the importance of a candidate who is dedicated to saving lives and serving mothers in need.
Trump's critique of DeSantis comes as he seeks a third candidacy for the presidency, competing against DeSantis and a range of other GOP and Democratic candidates. DeSantis, who currently holds the number two position in the GOP primary, is trying to close the gap with Trump while also facing competition from former Vice President Mike Pence, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley, and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy.
Trump's criticism of DeSantis and his support for abortion legislation have raised concerns among socially conservative Republican primary voters, particularly in Iowa where evangelicals play a significant role. Trump's discomfort with the abortion issue has been apparent since the repeal of Roe v. Wade, and he has avoided taking a clear position on a federal ban on most abortions at 15 weeks.
Having appointed three conservative justices to the Supreme Court, Trump's role in overturning Roe v. Wade is expected to be a focus for Democrats in the 2024 general election if he becomes the nominee. Furthermore, the fact that other Republican governors, such as Iowa's Kim Reynolds, have signed similar abortion bans adds to the perception that Trump is attacking Republicans from the left.
Trump's advisers are aware that abortion was detrimental to Republicans in the 2022 midterm elections, and Trump himself expressed concerns about the electoral impact of overturning Roe. In an effort to appeal to a broader base of voters, Trump has taken a more moderate approach, positioning himself as a mediator on the issue and stating that he doesn't care whether a ban is implemented at the state or federal level.
However, critics argue that compromising on abortion would be a mistake and that the sanctity of life should be the central focus of American law. Former Vice President Mike Pence, known for his strong anti-abortion stance, condemned Trump's comments and emphasized that there is no room for negotiation when it comes to the life of the unborn.
Overall, Trump's criticism of DeSantis and his ambiguous stance on abortion have sparked controversy among conservatives, raising questions about his commitment to the pro-life cause and potentially alienating socially conservative Republican primary voters.