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Ron DeSantis, Staten Island
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL). Photo credit: State of Florida / Wikimedia

After Donald Trump suggested he could create an abortion policy compromise that would “make people happy,” his primary opponent Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis pounced on the comment as a way to secure support for his faltering campaign.

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Are Republican primary voters more pro-Trump or pro-life? Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) hopes it is the latter, and that, with his recent remarks on abortion, the former president has finally given him a small opening in the race for the GOP nomination.

In an interview that aired Sunday, Trump weighed in on the issue with a series of answers that, once you sifted through the lies and gibberish he spouted, also indicated that he would want to negotiate a deal with both sides that would make everybody content. This, of course, is a laughable assertion in and of itself.

After all, the lack of a middle ground is one of the reasons why abortion has been one of the most contentious issues dividing the country over the past few decades.

However, Trump, who views himself as a dealmaker, suggested that he could gather all of the parties and come up with a specific time during a pregnancy when an abortion would be legal.

“What’s going to happen is you’re going to come up with a number of weeks or months,” Trump said. “You’re going to come up with a number that’s going to make people happy.”

The former president also made it clear that this timeframe would not be consistent with the abortion bans that many Republican-led states have enacted since the Supreme Court reversed the landmark Roe v. Wade decision last year.

While more than a dozen states have put in place near-total bans since then, DeSantis has signed a six-week ban into law earlier this year that is not yet enforceable.

“I mean, DeSanctus is willing to sign a five-week and six-week ban,” Trump said, using one of his nicknames for the Florida governor, adding that he thought “what [DeSantis] did is a terrible thing and a terrible mistake.”

It is these remarks that the Florida governor, who is running a distant second to the former president in the race for the 2024 GOP nomination, hopes will finally give him an opening.

Following Trump’s interview, the DeSantis campaign pounced on the comments by highlighting what several prominent conservative commentators had to say about the statements.

“An awful answer from a moral perspective. There is nothing terrible about stopping the satanic abortion industry from mass murdering human children,” tweeted right-wing firebrand Matt Walsh to his 2.5 million followers. “Also stupid politically. There is no compromise on abortion that everyone will like. It’s delusional to think otherwise.”

Walsh, whose tweet was reposted by the DeSantis campaign, added that the only position conservatives should take on the issue is to “defend life clearly and powerfully and unequivocally.”

The campaign also amplified comments made by Lila Rose, the founder of the anti-abortion group Live Action.

“Pathetic and unacceptable. Trump is actively attacking the very pro-life laws made possible by Roe’s overturning,” she tweeted in response to the former president’s statements, “Heartbeat Laws have saved thousands of babies. But Trump wants to compromise on babies’ lives so pro-abort Dems ‘like him.’ Trump should not be the GOP nominee.”

Seeing how it was Trump’s Supreme Court nominees who were instrumental in overturning Roe v. Wade, it seems odd that he would be vulnerable on the issue of abortion.

However, Team DeSantis clearly feels that there is an opening here to drive a wedge between the former president and the religious community, which strongly supports him.

If this strategy were to work, we would most likely see it in future Iowa polls because the state has such a large presence of religious voters.

Realistically, DeSantis shouldn’t hold his breath. The faith-based community has always given Trump a lot of latitude when it comes to his personal transgressions, his ignorance of religion, and his inconsistent policy views.

While it would be ironic if abortion became an issue that allowed the Florida governor to catch up, it seems highly unlikely that this strategy will allow DeSantis to turn around his fortunes in the race.

Author

  • Klaus Marre

    Klaus Marre is a writer, editor, former congressional reporter, and director of the WhoWhatWhy Mentor Apprentice Program. Follow him on Twitter @KlausMarre.

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