Former President Donald Trump criticized Republican governors who have signed pro-life laws — also known as “heartbeat laws” — that ban abortion after six weeks, calling the bill signed into law by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis “a terrible thing and a terrible mistake.”
Trump made the remarks during a Sunday interview with Kristen Welker on NBC News’s “Meet The Press” in which she pressed to get specifics on where Trump stood on the issue, telling him that her goal was to “give voters who are going to be weighing in on this election a very clear sense of where you stand.”
Asked initially by Welker if he would “sign federal legislation that banned abortion at 15 weeks,” Trump replied, “No, no, let me 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.”
“Right now, to my thinking, the Democrats are the radicals” on the issue, he added, citing Democrats’ support of abortion without limits and New York’s abortion laws.
“I think they’re all going to like me, I think both sides are going to like me,” Trump told Welker when pressed for more details. “What’s going to happen is you’re going to come up with a number of weeks or months, you’re going to come up with a number that’s going to make people happy.”
He went on to add that the vast majority of Democrats “don’t want to see abortion after a certain period of time.”
Welker eventually pressed Trump again about a 15-week abortion ban, asking, “If a federal ban landed on your desk if you were re-elected, would you sign it at 15 weeks?”
“Well, people are starting to think of 15 weeks, that seems to be a number that people are talking about right now,” he replied.
“Would you sign that?” she interjected.
“I would sit down with both sides and I’d negotiate something, and we’ll end up with peace on that issue for the first time in 52 years,” Trump said. “I’m not going to say I would or I wouldn’t.”
Asked if this action would be on the federal level, Trump said, “It could be state or it could be federal. I don’t, frankly, care.”
Trump continued by taking aim at his top opponent in the Republican Party primary race.
“I mean, DeSanctus is willing to sign a five-week and six-week ban,” Trump said.
“Would you support that?” Welker asked. “You think that goes too far?”
“I think what he did is a terrible thing and a terrible mistake,” Trump answered.
TRUMP: “DeSanctus is willing to sign a five-week and six-week ban.”
WELKER: “Would you support that? You think that goes too far?
TRUMP: “I think what he did is a terrible thing and a terrible mistake.” pic.twitter.com/PghjuC5SKR
— Jason Rantz on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) September 17, 2023
Trump’s remarks disavowing heartbeat laws come as numerous Republican states have implemented the policies or even more restrictive measures. The Florida Supreme Court is currently hearing challenges to the state’s 15-week abortion ban and, if the Court upholds the law, the new heartbeat law will go into effect 30 days later.
States with heartbeat laws include Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.