Trump Openly Calculating His Abortion Messaging

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After Donald Trump’s disdain for Ron DeSantis prompted him to declare that he thinks the six-week Florida abortion ban is “terrible,” lots of speculative pieces were written on whether Trump — the man who stocked the Supreme Court with enough uber-conservative, anti-abortion justices to overturn Roe — might actually be moderating on the procedure. My colleague Josh Marshall wrote a handful of ed-blogs unpacking just how silly this news cycle was, and he and Kate Riga got into it on the Josh Marshall Podcast, as well.

In short, the flurry of coverage about Democrats’ supposed concern that Trump may be on his way to steal their electoral carrot or become the new Reasonable Guy on abortion misses two important points: Even low-information voters know who was behind Roe‘s downfall. The only reason we’re discussing gestational bans at all is because Trump’s Court nixed the constitutional right to an abortion.

But it also misses a point that TPM has been harping repeatedly for the past year: Most Republicans are avoiding planting their flag anywhere specific on the issue because the last several elections since Dobbs have demonstrated that supporting abortion restrictions can and will come back to bite them. Trump knows this. He’s just doing his message strategizing in public, instead of behind closed doors in the Senate.

His remark about DeSantis’ six-week ban being “a terrible thing and a terrible mistake” is one example of this. His comment on Michigan Republican Tudor Dixon’s podcast — where he said Republicans must embrace exceptions — is another.

And he did it again last night in Iowa, telling a crowd of supporters that his party needs to learn how to “properly talk about abortion.”

“Without the exceptions, it is very difficult to win elections,” Trump said. “We would probably lose majorities [in Congress] in 2024 without the exceptions, and perhaps the presidency itself.”

When you’re the face of Roe’s overturning, there’s no hiding the ball. He’s not softening on the issue by dissing a six-week ban his rival passed or saying candidly that Americans don’t like restrictions without exceptions, bare minimum.

He’s just doing what Trump does: politically strategizing about universally acknowledged truths out loud, rather than in anonymous quotes.

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Notable Replies

  1. Trump fishing for non-cult-member women to vote for him. I love the smell of desperation in the morning.

  2. Avatar for davex davex says:

    He’s just doing what Trump does: politically strategizing about universally acknowledged truths out loud, rather than in anonymous quotes.

    So the question becomes: Do the MAGA folk care if Mr. T goes full realpolitik on abortion? Will they go over a cliff for the unborn? Or will they reconcile themselves to Cyrus being Cyrus and take what they can get? Ms Dannenfelser seems open to taking half a loaf if she can remain in power. But for some anti-abortion people only a total ban with maximum punishments for aiders and abettors will do. How many of those are there?

  3. Avatar for docd docd says:

    TFG’s stand on abortion is much like that of other GOPers: If you have enough money and clout, you will be able to procure an abortion when it becomes important for you personally. Everyone else can kick rocks.

  4. Whenever TFG spouts abortion nonsense, the media needs to play that “Hardball” clip of TFG saying that women need to suffer some sort of punishment.

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