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Donald Trump greets people as he arrives for a New Years event at his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Fla.
Donald Trump greets people as he arrives for a New Years event at his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Fla., on Dec. 31, 2022.Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Eyes on 2024: Trump’s abortion blame game

Abortion may be a key dividing line in the GOP presidential primary, despite how social conservatives previously celebrated Trump after the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade.

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Former President Donald Trump kicked off the new year by insisting that it “wasn’t my fault” that Republicans fell short of expectations in the 2022 midterms, even though several candidates he endorsed lost high-profile races. 

“It was the ‘abortion issue,’ poorly handled by many Republicans, especially those that firmly insisted on No Exceptions, even in the case of Rape, Incest, or Life of the Mother, that lost large numbers of Voters,” Trump wrote in a Truth Social post on Monday.

His assertion sparked pushback from the anti-abortion rights group, Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, which said in a statement that the winning approach is to “state clearly the ambitious consensus pro-life position and contrast that with the extreme view of Democrat opponents … There was ALSO a profound midterm lesson for future federal candidates: those who adopted the Ostrich Strategy on abortion lose.”

The exchange suggests that abortion may be a key dividing line between Trump and other GOP presidential contenders, despite how social conservatives previously celebrated Trump for nominating the justices who ultimately voted to overturn Roe vs. Wade. Trump’s former vice president, Mike Pence, quoted the SBA statement and tweeted, “Well Said @sbaprolife!” 

Meanwhile, other Republicans are blaming Trump for their 2022 losses. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told NBC News’ Sahil Kapur late last month, “We lost support that we needed among independents and moderate Republicans, primarily related to the view they had of us as a party — largely made by the former president — that we were sort of nasty and tended toward chaos.”

In other 2024 news…

Biden his time: President Joe Biden is starting the year with an event with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, NBC News’ Mike Memoli reports. This comes as Biden weighs another run for president, and Politico reports that an announcement “could potentially come earlier than had been expected, possibly as soon as mid-February, around the expected date of the State of the Union.” 

But Biden’s 2023 agenda could face a key obstacle in the conservative Supreme Court, NBC News’ Lawrence Hurley reports.

Sanders weighs another run: Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders “did not rule out another presidential bid of his own,” the Associated Press reports. Sanders told the AP, “I’ll make a decision at the appropriate time. People need to breathe.”

Santos saga: Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., is set to take office today after admitting to “embellishing” his resume, including claims that he graduated from college, worked for two financial firms, and said he was “Jew-ish.” Santos is facing multiple investigations, including from Federal prosecutorsa New York prosecutor, and authorities in Brazil, per the New York Times.

Trump’s tax tribulations: Shortly before Democrats are set to relinquish control of the House to the GOP, the House Ways and Means Committee released six years of Trump’s tax returnsto the public. Among the revelations: millions made in foreign income as well as that the IRS didn’t finish an audit of his 2016 returns by the time Trump left office. 

History in Virginia: Democrat Jennifer McClellan is poised to be the first Black woman to represent Virginia in Congress following her primary win to fill a vacant seat to represent Virginia’s 4th District. Former Democratic Rep. Donald McEachin died last month from cancer and McClellan is favored to win February’s special general election over Republican Leon Benjamin.