Former President Donald Trump’s recent comments on abortion during his “Meet the Press” interview have sparked pushback from some of his rivals for the GOP nomination.
Asked if he would sign a federal ban on abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, Trump said, “No, no. Let me just tell you what I’d do. I’m going to come together with all groups, and we’re going to have something that’s acceptable.”
He went on to say that an abortion ban “could be state or it could be federal. I don’t frankly care,” later adding that bans at the state level are “probably better, but I can live with it either way.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis warned that Trump’s pledge to find consensus on the issue would not end well for abortion-rights opponents.
“Anytime [Trump] did a deal with Democrats, whether it was on budget, whether it was on the criminal justice First Step Act, they ended up taking him to the cleaners,” DeSantis told Radio Iowa on Monday, per NBC News’ Alec Hernández.
“I think all pro-lifers should know that he’s preparing to sell you out,” DeSantis later added.
Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., offered some of his strongest criticism of Trump yet, name-checking the former president, noting Trump “said he would negotiate with the Democrats and walk back away from what I believe where we need to be, which is a 15-week limit on the federal level,” per NBC News’ Nnamdi Egwuonwu and Jillian Frankel.
President Joe Biden’s allies, meanwhile, viewed his comments as a “flashing red light” and scrambled to frame media coverage of his remarks, fearing he would be portrayed as more moderate on the abortion issue, per Politico.
In other campaign news …
On the picket line: Trump is planning to deliver a speech to striking auto workers in Detroit next week during the second GOP presidential debate, per NBC News’ Katherine Doyle, Olympia Sonnier and Vaughn Hillyard. Scott also weighed in on the auto strike, saying former President Ronald Reagan ”gave us a great example when federal employees decided they were going to strike. He said, you strike, you’re fired.”
Vivek and the vaccine: Businessman Vivek Ramaswamy said he regrets taking the Covid vaccine. But his wife, a surgeon, said she does not, she told NBC News’ Alex Tabet and Katherine Koretski.
Trump on Truth Social: Trump posted this comment on Truth Social over the weekend, during the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah: “Just a quick reminder for liberal Jews who voted to destroy America & Israel because you believed in false narratives!”
2020 tightrope: The New York Times explores how “for nearly three years, Mr. DeSantis played both sides of Republicans’ rift over the 2020 election.”
Ballot drama: Some California Democratic legislators are urging state Attorney General Rob Bonta to fast-track a court ruling regarding Trump’s standing on the ballot, as Trump faces lawsuits over his standing given his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
Latino outreach: The main pro-Biden super PAC, Future Forward USA Action, is launching new ads this month in battleground states aimed at Latino voters, and also bringing on two Biden campaign veterans to lead the effort, per the Washington Post.
Big money on the sidelines: Billionaire GOP donor Ken Griffin told CNBC that while he gave generously to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ 2022 re-election campaign, he hasn’t been impressed by the GOP presidential field and is “still on the sidelines.”
Big Senate moves: Pennsylvania Republican Dave McCormick is set to announce a Senate bid this week; a New Jersey mayor whose husband worked for Trump is running against Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez; Florida Republican Keith Gross said he’s willing to spend big in his primary challenge against Sen. Rick Scott; and in Utah, House Speaker Brad Wilson resigned from the legislature on Monday and touted a “special announcement” next week amid a likely Senate bid. Former Trump national security advisor Robert O’Brien does not plan to run for the seat.
“He’s 100% in”: GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz, a prominent Trump supporter, is widely expected to run for governor in Florida in 2026, NBC News’ Matt Dixon reports.
Flip-flopping on abortion: In Kentucky, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports that Attorney General Daniel Cameron, the Republican nominee for governor, now supports exceptions for rape and incest to the state’s abortion ban. Previously, Cameron vowed to leave the abortion law “as-is” and the current law does not include exceptions.Worsening health issues: Virginia Democratic Rep. Jennifer Wexton won’t seek re-election after she was diagnosed with a rare, progressive disease that she described as “Parkinson’s on steroids.”
A diverse House Republican bench: CNN reports that House Republicans are hoping to recruit more women, minorities, and veterans to run for office, after members from those groups helped flip swing seats in 2022.