WASHINGTON (AP) – Former President donald trump said the federal government should play an “important role” with the opposition abortion however, again failed to provide details on what national restrictions he would support if re-elected to the White House.
Trump’s remarks to a group of influential evangelicals on Saturday on the anniversary of the fall of the Supreme Court National abortion rights contrasted with those of his former Vice President and 2024 rival, Mike Pence.
pence Speaking at the same conference a day earlier, he challenged every Republican presidential candidate to support the passage of a national ban on abortion at least from the 15th week of pregnancy.
Trump, the GOP’s lead candidate, has been reluctant to endorse a statewide ban, suggesting that states leave restrictions on it. He has even suggested that pushing for tougher abortion restrictions would put a political strain on Republicans, even though his three Supreme Court nominees made up the majority of the justices who voted to overthrow Roe v. Wade had voted.
Trump continued to provide an ambiguous response in his speech to the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s annual conference. He said he believes “the biggest advances are now being made in the states where everyone wanted to be.”
“One of the reasons they wanted Roe v. Wade ending,” he said, “is taking it back to the states where many people firmly believe that the greatest advances in pro-life are now being made.”
But the former president also added, “Of course, the federal government continues to have an important role in protecting unborn life.”
Trump said he supports three exceptions to abortion restrictions in cases of rape and incest or when a mother’s life is in danger.
He gave full credit to his role in overturning the landmark ruling and said he is “proud to be the most life-loving president in American history.”
Though white evangelical Christians were initially reluctant to support Trump in 2016, his promises to appoint judges to the court who would overthrow Roe — and the eventual overturning of the verdict — have won him deep support in the evangelical movement.
When he took the stage on Saturday, he received a standing ovation from hundreds of viewers. Some of those present stood on their chairs to see him enter. Enthusiasm for Trump was significantly greater than the morning before when Pence and a number of other presidential candidates were speaking at the conference.
One candidate, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, was met with boos when he criticized Trump in his statements on Friday.
On Saturday night, the crowd erupted in sustained shouts, “We want Trump!” amid the former president’s remarks.
“Have your other candidates been treated like this?” Trump said with a smile.
Trump promised in his remarks that if re-elected President, he would appoint “rock-solid conservative judges modeled after Justice Clarence Thomas and former Justice Antonin Scalia.” He also repeated false claims he had previously made that pro-choice advocates wanted to “kill a baby” at the ninth month of pregnancy or even after birth.
The Republican former president also promised that before Election Day next year he would publish the list of potential justices he would appoint to the Supreme Court.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, considered Trump’s closest rival for the Republican nomination, has made the promise of an even more conservative Supreme Court part of his campaign to distance himself from Trump.
DeSantis, speaking at Friday’s Faith and Freedom conference, said that if elected president, he would nominate and appoint Supreme Court justices along the lines of Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito, who most recently ruled in the Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization year constitutional protections for abortion ended.
In a recent interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt, DeSantis said he respects the three Trump-appointed judges, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barret, but said, “I would say we’re going to do better.”
“None of these three is on the same level,” by Thomas and Judge Samuel Alito, who wrote the ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization last year, which overturned constitutional protections for abortion.
“I think they’re the gold standard,” he said of Thomas and Alito, who were appointed by Presidents George HW Bush and George W. Bush.
DeSantis reiterated that pledge in his remarks at Friday’s Faith and Freedom conference, promising to appoint judges along the lines of Thomas and Alito. wing groups.”