As TPM has been reporting since Roe’s overturning: The electoral backlash to the Dobbs ruling has Republicans — especially 2024 Republicans — queasy about staking out a position on abortion. And no one has been more vague about what abortion policy they’d support as president than Donald Trump.
In recent weeks, some Republicans made it clear they plan to take their chances on a 15-week nationwide ban. People like Mike Pence and Glenn Younkin, for example, are betting that Republican voters who have reacted aversely to extreme bans on the procedure in red states, may see the 15-week approach as more humane than the type of universal bans with no exceptions that have long been associated with the supposed “pro-life” movement.
But most have clung to anti-abortion platitudes. 2024 candidate Nikki Haley, for example, often raises her conservative and “pro-life” bonafides when questioned about her position on abortion. Her line was no different during the first Republican debate, but she also hid behind the limitations of the filibuster, saying it didn’t matter where she stood on a 15-week ban because it wouldn’t get 60 votes in the Senate.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has maintained he would be a “pro-life” president if elected, but on the campaign trail he has refused to outright embrace the extreme 6-week ban he signed into law in his state earlier this year.
Trump has been the most intentionally hazy, though, refusing to traffic in specifics and pointing to some Grand Plan to sit down with “both sides” and work out some sort of deal as president. He first raised this far-fetched cop out during the CNN town hall earlier this year and brought it up again this weekend when NBC’s Kristen Welker asked him where he stood.
“What’s going to happen is you’re going to come up with a number of weeks or months,” Trump said, adding that it would result in “peace on that issue for the first time in 52 years.”
“You’re going to come up with a number that’s going to make people happy.”
While he stuck with the same shrug toward negotiating an amorphous, unlikely deal, Trump also kinda sorta came out against six-week abortion bans, but only as a broadside to his former ally and 2024 challenger.
When asked if he thought the Florida governor had gone too far in signing his six-week abortion ban into law, Trump unflinchingly described it as “terrible.”
“I think what he did is a terrible thing and a terrible mistake.”
The Best Of TPM Today
Here’s what you should read this evening: