During a recent interview on Meet The Press, former President Donald Trump engaged in a discussion about abortion and faced rigorous questioning from NBC’s Kristen Welker.
Trump expressed his hesitance to firmly endorse a federal ban on abortion, suggesting instead that a negotiation process should take place involving both sides of the abortion debate to establish a specific timeframe during which abortion would be restricted.
Welker pressed Trump on whether he would be willing to sign federal legislation prohibiting abortion after 15 weeks, to which Trump responded by indicating his willingness to engage in negotiations with all stakeholders and refrained from providing a definitive answer.
She then inquired whether abortion restrictions should be imposed at the federal level or left to individual states. Trump opined that he did not support allowing abortions late into pregnancy but did not clearly articulate his stance on federal restrictions.
Throughout the interview, Welker persistently sought clarity from Trump on the type of federal abortion ban he would support and whether he believed a fetus possessed constitutional rights. Trump contended that negotiation would eventually yield an agreement on the specific timeframe, whether at the state or federal level, at which abortion should be restricted.
Trump also critiqued how some Republicans discuss abortion, suggesting that taking a stance without exceptions could potentially cost them elections in certain regions. He emphasized the necessity for Republicans to effectively articulate their positions on this contentious issue.
In response to Trump’s comments, the Biden campaign criticized his reluctance to provide a straightforward response on abortion during the interview. The subject of abortion remains a deeply divisive and polarizing issue in American politics, with both major political parties holding contrasting viewpoints.
WELKER: IF A FEDERAL BAN LANDED ON YOUR DESK IF YOU WERE REELECTED, WOULD YOU SIGN IT AT 15 WEEKS –
TRUMP: ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT A COMPLETE BAN?
WELKER: A BAN AT 15 WEEKS.
TRUMP: WELL, PEOPLE, PEOPLE ARE STARTING TO THINK OF 15 WEEKS. THAT SEEMS TO BE A NUMBER THAT PEOPLE ARE TALKING ABOUT RIGHT NOW.
WELKER: WOULD YOU SIGN THAT?
TRUMP: 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. I’M NOT GOING TO SAY I WOULD OR I WOULDN’T. I MEAN, [RON DESANTIS] 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. BUT WE’LL COME UP WITH A NUMBER, BUT AT THE SAME TIME, DEMOCRATS WON’T BE ABLE TO GO OUT AT SIX MONTHS, SEVEN MONTHS, EIGHT MONTHS AND ALLOW AN ABORTION.
WELKER: MR. PRESIDENT, WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT NEGOTIATING, I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE THINK TO THEMSELVES, THIS IS AN ISSUE THAT THEY CARE ABOUT DEEPLY IN THEIR HEARTS –
TRUMP: I CARE ABOUT IT TOO. OH, I CARE ABOUT IT TOO.
WELKER: AND THEY KNOW WHERE THEY STAND, AND THEY WANT TO KNOW WHERE YOU STAND. AS YOU KNOW, SOME ANTI-ABORTION GROUPS ARE REALLY LOOKING FOR SOME CLARITY FROM YOU. SO LET ME JUST ASK YOU TO PUT A FINE POINT ON THIS. SHOULD THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IMPOSE ANY ABORTION RESTRICTIONS, OR SHOULD IT BE COMPLETELY LEFT UP TO THE STATES?
TRUMP: NO, I DON’T THINK YOU SHOULD HAVE – I DON’T THINK YOU SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO HAVE ABORTIONS WELL INTO A PREGNANCY.
WELKER: BUT WHAT ABOUT THE QUESTION I JUST ASKED YOU –
TRUMP: WE’RE GOING TO AGREE — NO — WE’RE GOING TO AGREE TO A NUMBER OF WEEKS OR MONTHS OR HOWEVER YOU WANT TO DEFINE IT. AND BOTH SIDES ARE GOING TO COME TOGETHER AND BOTH SIDES – BOTH SIDES, AND THIS IS A BIG STATEMENT, BOTH SIDES WILL COME TOGETHER. AND FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 52 YEARS, YOU’LL HAVE AN ISSUE THAT WE CAN PUT BEHIND US.
WELKER: AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL?
TRUMP: IT COULD BE STATE OR IT COULD BE FEDERAL. I DON’T FRANKLY CARE.
WELKER: SO YOU’RE NOT COMMITTED TO A BAN AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL.
TRUMP: I WILL SAY THIS. EVERYBODY, INCLUDING THE GREAT LEGAL SCHOLARS, LOVE THE IDEA OF ROE V. WADE TERMINATED SO IT CAN BE BROUGHT BACK TO THE STATES.
I think the Republicans speak very inarticulately about this subject. I watch some of them without the exceptions, et cetera, et cetera. I said, ‘Other than certain parts of the country, you can’t — you’re not going to win on this issue. But you will win on this issue when you come up with the right number of weeks.’ Because Democrats don’t want to be radical on the issue, most of them, some do. They don’t want to be radical on the issue. They don’t want to kill a baby in the seventh month or the ninth month or after birth. And they’re allowed to do that, and you can’t do that.