DeSantis Rebuts Trump on Abortion: 6-Week Ban Is ‘Something Almost 99% of Pro-Lifers Support’
At a press conference, DeSantis said Trump wouldn’t answer whether he’d sign a "heartbeat bill."
As he prepares to challenge Donald Trump in the Republican Presidential primary, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday disputed the former president’s claim that many anti-abortion activists felt a new six-week abortion ban DeSantis signed “was too harsh.”
“Protecting an unborn child when there’s a detectable heartbeat is something that almost 99 percent of pro-lifers support,” he said.
“I signed the bill, I was proud to do it,” he added. “He won’t answer whether he’d sign it or not.”
DeSantis’ remarks foreshadow the contentious presidential primary ahead. Trump has repeatedly criticized DeSantis as “disloyal” because, as president, he endorsed the then-little-known congressman in the 2018 gubernatorial primary, which ultimately catapulted DeSantis into the Governor’s Mansion in Tallahassee.
Trump echoed those criticisms Sunday in an exclusive interview with The Messenger, where he also noted that DeSantis is trailing him by double digits in polls. In that interview, Trump wouldn’t say what abortion restrictions he would sign nor whether he supports the six-week limitation on the procedure.
“He has to do what he has to do,” Trump said when asked about the new law. “If you look at what DeSantis did, a lot of people don't even know if he knew what he was doing. But he signed six weeks, and many people within the pro-life movement feel that that was too harsh.”
While many abortion-rights activists and Democrats agree with Trump, his remarks were anathema to anti-abortion activists and evangelical leaders.
“I would not say that ‘many’ in the pro-life community think this is too harsh. This is legislation we want,” Steve Scheffler, an Iowa evangelical leader and Republican National Committeeman, told The Messenger.
“I’m not sure who he [Trump] is referring to,” Scheffler said.
Trump has not clarified his remarks nor specified what new abortion limitations he would support, but he emphasized that there should be some exceptions for women seeking abortions in cases of rape, incest or health of the mother.
Echoing remarks he made previously in a CNN town hall, Trump pointed out that he appointed three U.S. Supreme Court justices who helped overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion.
“For 50 years, they've been trying to get rid of Roe v. Wade. I was able to do it. Nobody else could have done that but me. And I was able to do it [by nominating] three excellent judges on the Justices of the Supreme Court,” Trump told The Messenger.
“What it did more than anything else is it gave us a tremendous power of negotiation, which we didn't have, the pro-life movement, a tremendous power of negotiation,” he said. “Now the pro-life movement has the power to negotiate a deal that's acceptable for them.”
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