Former President Trump told a crowd in South Dakota on Friday that the Supreme Court’s decision to strip federal protections for abortion rights “probably cost” the Republican Party politically, but it was still the right decision.
“Last year, these justices bravely and incredibly ruled on something that everybody has wanted for decades, for 51 years,” Trump said Friday at the monumental leaders’ rally in Rapid City, S.D. “They ruled to end Roe v. Wade. That was a big thing.”
“And it probably cost us politically because the other side was energized,” he added. “You know, they’re the radicals, not the pro-lifers. But now the pro-lifers have enormous negotiating power.”
The Women’s Health Organization’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson in the summer of 2022, which overturned Roe v. Wade, is generally unpopular. Almost two-thirds of Americans disapproved of the decision in a June survey.
Political pundits theorized that the court’s decision encouraged Democrats to participate for the 2022 midterms, as Democrats are more likely to support abortion rights. In the wake of last year’s decision, about 40 percent of women said yes more likely to vote than before
Trump has done this before, blaming losses in the 2022 midterm elections on the abortion rights debate, but other Republicans have balked.
“Did the former president suggest we lost the midterms because we overturned Roe v. Wade?” said former Vice President Mike Pence. “I don’t believe it for a second.”
Pence is one of the most vocal anti-abortion candidates in the 2024 field.
Despite a disappointing result for the GOP, with an expected “red wave” failing to materialize, Republicans have continued to maintain pro-abortion policies.
Many 2024 GOP presidential candidates have advocated for national restrictions on abortion, although Trump has he avoided saying directly whether he would support a national ban.
At Friday’s rally, the former president said he supported exceptions to the abortion ban.
“But like Ronald Reagan before me, I support the three exceptions: for rape, for incest, and for the life of the mother,” he said. “I support. Not everyone does. I think a lot of it is.”
“I think you should, but again, that’s your own, that’s your own feeling,” Trump added.
The South Dakota rally featured Trump alongside Gov. Kristi Noem (right), who announced her official endorsement of the former president. The event comes as speculation grows about Noem’s future as a possible partner for Trump in 2024.
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