With all signs pointing to abortion remaining a galvanizing issue heading into the 2024 presidential contest, former President Donald Trump is facing heat from competitors on both sides of the aisle for his comments on the procedure.

In an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press that aired on Sunday, Trump sharply criticized fellow 2024 challenger Ron DeSantis’ decision to sign a bill banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy in the state, calling it a “terrible mistake.” 

What You Need To Know

  • In an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press that aired on Sunday, former President Donald Trump sharply criticized fellow 2024 challenger and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ decision to sign a six-week abortion ban, calling it a “terrible mistake"

  • The Biden campaign issued a statement on Sunday seeking to highlight what it sees as Trump’s role in the overturning of Roe v. Wade. 

  • Trump would not give a number of weeks in which he would support a federal ban on most abortion, saying he wanted to bring both sides together to find an agreement on a number of weeks 

"I think what he did is a terrible thing and a terrible mistake," the former president said of the Florida governor in the interview.

DeSantis’ campaign took to X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, to fire back. The DeSantis War Room posted a clip of Trump’s interview, writing that the Florida governor “will NEVER sell out conservatives to win praise from corporate media or the Left.” 

In the interview, Trump would not give a number of weeks in which he would support a federal ban on most abortions, including declining to say whether he would sign a 15-week ban. 

The former president, whose appointment of three conservative justices to the Supreme Court during his presidency paved the way for the court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, said he would bring both sides of the abortion issue together to work out “a number that's going to make people happy.”

“We're going to agree to a number of weeks or months or however you want to define it,” Trump said, adding he would personally “sit down with both sides and negotiate something and we'll end up with peace on that issue for the first time in 52 years.” 

“I think both sides are going to like me,” he said. 

Trump’s comments didn’t sit well with the Biden campaign either, which issued a statement on Sunday seeking to highlight what it sees as Trump’s role in the overturning of Roe v. Wade. 

“This isn’t complicated: Donald Trump is the reason millions of women lost the freedom to make their own health care decisions,” Biden-Harris 2024 campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez said in a statement. “The American people will reject Donald Trump and his extreme anti-abortion platform, just as they have rejected the MAGA extremist anti-abortion agenda in election after election post-Dobbs.”

Last year, the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision overturned the nearly half-century precedent set by Roe v. Wade, which guaranteed the right to an abortion nationwide until a certain point in pregnancy. As a result, the issue of whether and how much to restrict abortion was returned to the states. Since then, states across the country have enacted a patchwork of laws nationwide restricting or banning the practice. 

Trump has been critical of some Republicans’ approach to the issue since Roe’s overturning, including pointing to their handling of the topic to explain why the GOP did not perform as well as many expected in the 2022 midterm elections. 

The former president made many of the same arguments in Sunday’s interview, emphasizing there should be exceptions on abortion bans for “rape or incest or the life of the mother.” 

Asked whether an agreement on when to ban abortion should be at the federal levels or state level, Trump said “I don’t frankly care.” 

Republican candidates have struggled with the abortion topic, lacking a unified message. 

Democrats, meanwhile, have sought to lean into what they believe is a winning issue for their party, given polls showing a majority of Americans disapprove of the court’s Dobbs decision and support access to abortion in the first trimester. 

To further make their case, Democrats point to voters rejecting efforts to tightly restrict the practice when it has been on the ballot both indirectly and directly in local elections since the overturning of Roe.