Republicans have lost election after election in no small part because of their assault on, and now successful erosion of, abortion rights in America. From the crash of the predicted “red wave” in the midterm elections to numerous referendums protecting abortion in red states, to a key victory in Wisconsin just last month, attacking people’s bodily autonomy is a continually losing issue for Republicans. And Donald Trump, the party’s leading 2024 nominee, is now bragging about getting rid of people’s right to choose.
“I’m the one that got rid of Roe v. Wade,” twice-impeached, criminally indicted, and liable-for-sexual-abuse former President Trump boasted on Newsmax.
The comments came in response to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis criticizing Trump for not giving a definitive answer on whether the former president would sign the same six-week abortion ban that he had.
Trump, who up to this point seemed to have a comfortable hold on his relationship toward DeSantis, seems to be bungling his response now. Since his remarks on Tuesday, Trump has only doubled down on eroding abortion rights, an unpopular position among most Americans, while also trying to maintain his posturing that in doing so, he opened up room for the opposing sides of the debate to “negotiate.”
“I was able to kill Roe v. Wade, much to the ‘shock’ of everyone,” Trump posted on Truth Social Wednesday, “and for the first time put the Pro Life movement in a strong negotiating position.… Without me there would be no 6 weeks, 10 weeks, 15 weeks, or whatever is finally agreed to,” he continued, curiously showing he has no concern with what an actual outcome might look like. He oddly—and, at least, candidly—positions himself as someone who doesn’t care what people’s actual abortion rights are, as much as purports himself to be an effective mediator between the two sides.
“Without me the pro Life movement would have just kept losing. Thank you President TRUMP!!!” he finished.
Trump’s shakiness previews a likely continued messy debate between Trump and DeSantis. Up to this point, the Florida governor has not been avidly boasting about his radical move to ban abortions beyond six weeks—which, again, makes sense given how unpopular the policy is. But now DeSantis will likely see Trump’s vacillation as a gap for him to attack. The outcomes of such a circumstance bode very badly for the GOP. Trump may triple down on saying he was the one to get rid of Roe v. Wade, which basically writes the Democratic attack ads themselves. Or Trump may continue to appear confused and apathetic on the issue, which could actually generate some level of momentum for DeSantis or other candidates, making the entire primary much more competitive and potentially divisive. Trump may prevail in any case—but he’ll either come to be seen by the general public as the icon of the attack on abortion rights or, by Republicans, as weak and potentially marred by a much more competitive primary.
Go forth, DeSantis, take your shot.