Former President Donald Trump is facing renewed criticism from pro-life activists after he called Florida's six-week abortion ban signed into law by his 2024 Republican campaign rival Gov. Ron DeSantis "terrible."
In an interview with Kristen Welker on NBC's "Meet the Press" that aired Sunday, the 77-year-old Trump shared his vision for abortion policy should he win the 2024 Republican presidential nomination and the ensuing general election.
He predicted that "both sides are going to like me," adding, "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."
The former president insisted that "92% of the Democrats don't want to see abortion after a certain period of time" and that "Democrats don't want to be radical on the issue."
When asked if he would sign a 15-week abortion ban supported by other GOP nominees, Trump asserted, "I'm not going to say I would or I wouldn't."
"I would sit down with both sides, and I would negotiate something, and we'll end up with peace in that issue for the first time in 52 years," Trump claimed.
Trump took a shot at DeSantis, his chief rival for the Republican nomination, noting that "DeSanctus is willing to sign a five-week and six-week ban."
When Welker pressed whether or not he would sign such legislation, Trump characterized DeSantis' approval of a six-week abortion ban in Florida as a "terrible thing and a terrible mistake."
Trump's criticism of Florida's law that bans abortion once a heartbeat can be detected, usually around six weeks of gestation, did not sit well with pro-life activists.
Lila Rose, the founder and president of the pro-life group Live Action, took to X to describe the former president's remarks as "pathetic and unacceptable."
"Trump is actively attacking the very pro-life laws made possible by Roe's overturning," Rose wrote. "Heartbeat Laws have saved thousands of babies. But Trump wants to compromise on babies' lives so pro-abort Dems 'like him.'"
Pathetic and unacceptable.— Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) September 17, 2023
Trump is actively attacking the very pro-life laws made possible by Roe’s overturning.
Heartbeat Laws have saved thousands of babies.
But Trump wants to compromise on babies’ lives so pro-abort Dems “like him.”
Trump should not be the GOP nominee. https://t.co/oYRz3rNmre
"Trump should not be the GOP nominee," Rose declared.
Kristan Hawkins, the president of the pro-life organization Students for Life of America, also reacted to Trump's comments on "Meet the Press." She wrote on X that "protecting human life at 5 or 6 weeks isn't a 'terrible thing'... it's the right thing."
Conservative commentator Matt Walsh criticized Trump's remarks as "an awful answer from a moral perspective" and "also stupid politically." Walsh proclaimed in a tweet that "there is no compromise on abortion that everyone will like."
"It's delusional to think otherwise. And contrary to Trump's claims, almost all Democrats are indeed extreme on this issue," he added. "You will be hard pressed to find more than maybe two or three on the national stage who don't want abortion until birth or beyond. You can't win over Democrats by going squishy on this issue. Republicans have tried that brilliant strategy for decades and accomplished exactly nothing by it."
Brian Burch, president of the advocacy group CatholicVote, said in a statement that Trump's comments "have sparked concerns among Catholics over whether he is committed to leading on this issue like he did during his first term."
"Pro-life Catholic voters helped deliver him the White House in 2016 and a record number of votes in 2020," Burch said.
"He cannot expect to win again without these same voters. Any Republican presidential hopeful must draw a clear contrast to the extreme, taxpayer-funded, unlimited abortion agenda of Biden."
During a recent appearance on "The Megyn Kelly Show," Trump hesitated to answer a question asking, "Can a man become a woman?" After initially responding with an "umm," the former president identified the issue of "birth" as the determinative factor as to whether or not a man can become a woman.
"Can the man give birth? No, no. Although, they'll come up with some answer to that also someday," Trump said. "I heard just the other day they have a way that now that the man can give birth. No, I would say I'll continue my stance on that."
Kristen Waggoner of the legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom addressed both comments in a statement on social media.
"Laws protecting the unborn are not a 'terrible mistake.' They are the hallmark of a just and moral society," Waggoner wrote. "Governors who protect life should be applauded, not attacked. And while we're at it, men can't become women. This is also based on a simple biological reality and one necessary for a just and moral society."
Laws protecting the unborn are not a “terrible mistake.” They are the hallmark of a just and moral society. Governors who protect life should be applauded, not attacked.— Kristen Waggoner (@KWaggonerADF) September 17, 2023
And while we’re at it, men can’t become women. This is also based on a simple biological reality and one… https://t.co/1NBSE4zhwn
Trump vowed that under his proposed compromise, "Democrats won't be able to go out at six months, seven months, eight months and allow an abortion." He believes compromise could be achieved at either the state or the federal level. Trump signaled support for the idea of leaving abortion policy up to the states while reiterating his opposition to late-term abortion. He expressed a desire to serve as a "mediator" on the issue.
Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org