Trump fires back at Graham and abortion ‘hardliners’ over criticism

April 8, 2024

Former President Trump on Monday pushed back against Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and other conservatives who were critical of his statement on abortion earlier in the day, in which Trump declined to take a position on federal legislation limiting the procedure.

In a lengthy post on Truth Social, Trump wrote that Graham was “doing a great disservice to the Republican Party, and to our Country” and argued others who publicly favor stricter abortion laws were committing political malpractice.

“Terminating Roe v. Wade was, according to all Legal Scholars, a Great Event, but sometimes with Great Events come difficulties,” Trump wrote. “Many Good Republicans lost Elections because of this Issue, and people like Lindsey Graham, that are unrelenting, are handing Democrats their dream of the House, Senate, and perhaps even the Presidency.”

Trump pointed out that Democrats would never approve of any legislation Graham favors restricting abortion and have benefitted politically from the push among conservatives to restrict abortion access following the end of Roe v. Wade.

“They love this Issue, and they want to keep it going for as long as Republicans will allow them to do so,” Trump wrote.

The former president went on to criticize Marjorie Dannenfelser, head of Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America, and other “hardliners” over their handling of the issue in the past two years.

“Lindsey, Marjorie, and others fought for years, unsuccessfully, until I came along and got the job done,” Trump wrote. “Then they were gone, never to be heard from again, until now. We cannot let our Country suffer any further damage by losing Elections on an issue that should always have been decided by the States, and now will be!”

Trump on Monday morning released a video statement in which he took credit for ending Roe and expressed support for certain exceptions like rape, incest and a mother’s life. He argued Republicans ultimately must be able to win elections, brushing back calls from some groups for him to embrace a national ban and endorse a specific limit.  

“This 50 year battle over Roe v. Wade took it out of the federal hands and brought it into the hearts, minds and vote of the people in each state,” Trump said. “It was really something. Now it’s up to the states to do the right thing.” 

While the comments predictably prompted a wave of attacks from Democrats, who noted Trump was siding with states that had enacted severe restrictions on abortion and imposed punishments for doctors who performed the procedure, some conservatives were also critical.

Trump’s former vice president, Mike Pence, called the statement “a slap in the face to the millions of pro-life Americans who voted for him in 2016 and 2020.”  

Graham, who has previously introduced a bill to ban abortion after 15 weeks, said he respectfully disagreed with the former president’s position and would continue to advocate for a federal limit on abortions after 15 weeks, with exceptions.  

Dannenfelser, whose group had been lobbying Trump to endorse a 15-week ban, said it was “deeply disappointed” in Trump’s announcement. 

But in a sign of Trump’s hold on the conservative base, the group’s president said it will “work tirelessly to defeat President Biden and extreme Congressional Democrats.”