“I think what he did is a terrible thing and a terrible mistake,” Trump told NBC’s Kristen Welker in an interview that aired Sunday on “Meet the Press,” referring to a six-week abortion ban DeSantis signed in April.
In his comment, DeSantis stood firm with the Iowa governor. The law he signed remains under litigation in state courts.
“I applaud Governor @KimReynoldsIA and the Iowa legislature for promoting a culture of life,” DeSantis wrote on X. “Donald Trump is wrong to attack the heartbeat bill as ‘terrible.’ Standing for life is a noble cause.”
Trump has also taken heat for the comment from an array of conservative activists, including the leader of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, an influential advocacy group, who also said the former president was “wrong” for making it. Since the Supreme Court overturned 1973’s Roe v. Wade in 2022, more than a dozen Republican-led states have banned abortion in most cases, while others imposed significant restrictions. Many of those laws remain under litigation even as polls find that the public generally supports access to the procedure.
Perhaps cognizant of the issue’s potency, Trump took to social media on Tuesday to defend his record on abortion.
“I was able to do something that nobody thought was possible, end Roe v. Wade,” Trump wrote on Truth Social. “For 52 years, people talked, spent vast amounts of money, but couldn’t get the job done. I got the job done!”
“Like Ronald Reagan before me, I believe in the three exceptions for Rape, Incest, and the Life of the Mother,” Trump also wrote. “Without the exceptions, it is very difficult to win Elections, we would probably lose the Majorities in 2024, and perhaps the Presidency itself, but you must follow your HEART!”
Trump has recently warned conservatives that they must understand how to talk about abortion in an election setting. Republican leaders, Trump among them, have expressed concerns that leaning too far into abortion restrictions played poorly in the 2022 midterms.
Democrats are trying to make abortion access a central part of their political strategy: President Joe Biden has put it center stage on his reelection run, and Democrats have aimed to put abortion-related provisions on state ballots. And after Trump’s interview, Democrats weren’t having what they saw as Trump’s attempt to walk the line. Biden world figures and his campaign sent out messages and statements highlighting how the former president contributed to the fall of Roe.