Trump stands above the crowded field of hopefuls for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, consistently polling as the most favored candidate by a considerable margin despite facing 91 felony charges, including accusations of attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 election. According to FiveThirtyEight’s national polling average, around 55 percent of likely GOP voters plan to vote for Trump next year, well ahead of the 14 percent for his closest competitor, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
One of the most significant accomplishments of Trump’s presidency, among Republicans, was his appointment of three conservatives to the Supreme Court, which ultimately contributed to the overturning of Roe v. Wade last summer and the end of federal abortion protections. In the wake of that decision, numerous GOP-controlled states have enacted anti-abortion laws with varying degrees of strictness, with a few banning the procedure outright.
The end of Roe has proven a double-edged sword for the Republican Party, however, as polls have consistently shown abortion access to be popular with a solid majority of voters. Special elections in various states have seen voters consistently back measures to protect abortion rights, even in red states like Kansas and Ohio. Numerous observers have since warned that if Republicans do not soften their stances on abortion and embrace exceptions in certain cases, their future electoral prospects might be jeopardized.
In a series of posts to his social networking platform, Truth Social, Trump once again boasted of his hand in overturning Roe, while also urging the GOP to change their tactics on the issue ahead of next year’s elections.
“Like Ronald Reagan before me, I believe in the three exceptions for Rape, Incest, and the Life of the Mother,” Trump wrote. “Without the exceptions, it is very difficult to win Elections, we would probably lose the Majorities in 2024, and perhaps the Presidency itself, but you must follow your HEART! In order to win in 2024, Republicans must learn how to talk about Abortion. This issue cost us unnecessarily, but dearly, in the Midterms.”
In one of the posts, Trump echoed claims about Democrats supporting abortions in the “5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th month” of pregnancies. While it is not inaccurate that abortions can occur in the third trimester, they are considerably rare, making up less than 1 percent of all abortions. Of that 1 percent, the vast majority are sought in response to medical developments that threaten the life of the mother or have caused the fetus to become non-viable.
Some of Trump’s recent comments on abortion have been seized on by other candidates, with the pro-DeSantis Never Back Down PAC releasing a campaign ad calling him out for not “supporting the pro-life movement.”
“Ron DeSantis is losing his grip on reality because he knows he’s dropping like a rock and failing badly,” Trump spokesman Steven Cheung wrote to Newsweek in response to the ad. “From Iowa to New Hampshire to Nevada to South Carolina, the more people who get to know DeSantis, the more they are turned off by his personality—or lack thereof—because he hasn’t shown any indication he can beat Crooked Joe Biden.”