Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida accused former President Donald Trump of not being “pro-life” during a CNN town hall.
Trump called a Florida law which restricts abortion after the sixth week of pregnancy, when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, “too harsh” in May. DeSantis signed the legislation in April, after previously signing legislation that restricted abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Abortion was a top issue for Democrats in the 2022 midterm elections after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June 2022 after upholding a Mississippi law in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that banned most abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy.
“This is a guy that was at the March for Life in January of 2020, and he said that all life was a gift from God, he said the unborn was made in the image of God, he said that there should be protections. That’s what he was saying when he was president at the March for life. Now he’s saying it’s a terrible, terrible thing,” DeSantis said. “So, how do you reconcile those two views? Did he flip flop? Did he not believe it at the time?”
“But then to go even further, he actually has said, elevate this issue to the federal government,” DeSantis continued. “What he wants to do is find a time – I think he floated, like, 18 or 20 weeks. Have that be the limit. But then override any protections that states have done that are more than that. Well, that is not going to be advancing the cause of life. So, I think, for pro-life voters in Iowa, Donald Trump is taking positions that are way different than what he professed to believe when he first ran for president in 2016.”
CNN host Kaitlan Collins, a former White House correspondent for the Daily Caller, asked if DeSantis was saying Trump wasn’t pro-life.
“When you’re saying that pro-life protections are a terrible thing, by definition you are not pro-life. When you say that you want to have a federal law at 18 weeks or 20 weeks that would override a state like Iowa that has enacted pro-life protections, that would mean more abortions, not less abortions because very few abortions are happening that late anyway,” DeSantis told Collins. “So, he has flip-flopped on this issue. I don’t know if it’s because of political convenience or this is where he always believed in. But here’s the thing: Some issues are pretty fundamental. How do you flip flop on something like the sanctity of life?”
Republicans underperformed expectations of a “red wave” nationally, although DeSantis defeated former Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist, who served as governor from 2007-2011 as a Republican, by over 19%.
“It sounds like Ron DeSantis is being a whiny baby who is mad his campaign is about to be over. President Trump’s unmatched pro-life record speaks for itself,” a spokesperson for the Trump campaign told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “He appointed strong Constitutionalist federal judges and Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe v. Wade, which others have tried to do for over 50 years. He ended taxpayer-funded abortions, reinstated the Mexico City Policy that protects life abroad, and took many other actions to defend the unborn. There has been no bigger advocate for the movement than President Trump. SBA praised the Trump Presidency as ‘the most consequential in American history for the pro-life cause.’”
“President Trump has given movement leaders negotiating power they have never had before and his actions are without parallel. Throughout these unprecedented successes, President Trump has always advised fellow Republicans that they must learn to talk about this critical issue the right way and remind voters that it is Democrats who are the extreme ones on abortion, not Republicans, despite the left’s attempt to paint it that way,” the spokesperson said. “Joe Biden and virtually every Democrat in Congress is on the record supporting on-demand abortion up until the moment of birth, and after birth , as well as using American tax dollars to fund the killing of the most vulnerable. That’s why millions of pro-life Americans will vote to send President Trump back to the White House.”