Donald Trump slams Ron DeSantis over Florida's "too harsh" abortion ban

Tallahassee, Florida - Former President Donald Trump took a shot at Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis for enacting Florida’s ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, while remaining evasive about his own position on the issue.

Donald Trump is taking aim at Gov. Ron DeSantis over Florida's six-week abortion ban.
Donald Trump is taking aim at Gov. Ron DeSantis over Florida's six-week abortion ban.  © Logan Cyrus, Eva Marie UZCATEGUI / AFP

Without explicitly disclosing his own stance, Trump claimed that "many people in the pro-life movement" believe the six-week ban goes too far in restricting women’s right to choose."

"He signed six weeks, and many people within the pro-life movement feel that that was too harsh," Trump said in an interview with The Messenger.

Trump did not cite any pro-life groups or leaders to back up his assertion that they oppose the six-week ban. It is similar to bans that have been passed in many GOP-led states with the anti-abortion movement’s strong support.

Steve Cortes, a former Trump campaign spokesperson who has joined a pro-DeSantis super PAC, hit back at Trump, questioning if the ex-president has gone "soft on pro-life."

"Is DJT so adamant about attacking DeSantis, that he will even oppose the Governor’s strong protections for unborn children?! Wow," Cortes tweeted.

Trump has sought to avoid being pinned down on abortion. He employed that tactic in the new interview by refusing to say if he agrees with those who consider the six-week ban to be too extreme.

His evasiveness continues a pattern. The former president repeatedly dodged questions about his personal stance on the issue during last week’s CNN town hall with Republican voters, while taking credit for appointing conservative Supreme Court judges who overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

What type of voters support abortion bans?

Ron DeSantis signed Florida's six-week abortion ban in April.
Ron DeSantis signed Florida's six-week abortion ban in April.  © STEPHEN MATUREN / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

If Trump does wind up taking a firm stance to the left of DeSantis and other potential GOP rivals, it could be a risky move.

Even though abortion bans are unpopular with the public as a whole, they are very popular with pro-life evangelical Christian conservatives, a powerful constituency within the Republican primary electorate.

DeSantis, who spend the weekend barnstorming in the first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa, signed the six-week ban last month after pushing it through the Florida legislature.

It significantly tightens the Sunshine State’s previous law that banned abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Unlike other recent legislative victories, DeSantis quietly signed the abortion bill late at night without fanfare, suggesting he knows it is not widely popular with voters.

After a slow start, Trump has opened up a wide lead over DeSantis and others as the GOP primary field starts to come together.

Cover photo: Logan Cyrus, Eva Marie UZCATEGUI / AFP

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