PALM BEACH, Florida (LifeSiteNews) — Former U.S. President Donald Trump this week doubled down on his recent criticism of strict pro-life protections, also suggesting that pro-life organizations have been running “some kind of a business” by raising money to end abortion for decades without achieving meaningful results.
In an interview with National Pulse editor-in-chief Raheem Kassam that aired Tuesday, Trump repeated previous arguments that Republicans lose elections when they focus on abolishing abortion and emphasized his role in moving the needle toward significant pro-life legislation.
In the far-reaching interview, Trump suggested to Kassam that poor abortion messaging was the reason that a large number of the candidates the former U.S. president endorsed in the 2022 elections lost.
“The reason that the Republicans didn’t do well in the 2022 midterms is because they didn’t know how to talk about the abortion issue,” he said.
Of Trump’s picks, 46 won their elections and 33 did not – but pro-lifers have disputed claims that the pro-life agenda was to blame.
“It’s fine for them to believe … but they did not come close to winning [the] election,” he argued.
Trump also sparked outrage in the interview for taking a swipe at pro-life organizations that have raised money and lobbied to end abortion but had failed to achieve major nationwide wins prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2022 ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson that overturned the federal “right” to abortion.
“We have these groups fighting this for so many decades. It’s exactly 52 years, as of a date in the not-too-distant future. And that’s a long time,” Trump told Kassam. “Everybody’s raising money all the time. I don’t know, maybe it’s some kind of a business.”
Prominent pro-life activist Abby Johnson responded to Trump on X, formerly Twitter, by saying that “constantly slamming the pro-life movement is unacceptable and gross.”
“Has Trump ever held body parts of children in his hands? I have,” Johnson said. “For him to allude to the life movement as being a grift is funny coming from him.”
In the National Pulse interview, Trump also said he put pro-life advocates “in a great negotiating position” by appointing judges to the U.S. Supreme Court, “and we don’t want to blow it.”
According to Trump, the issue of abortion regulation is one that should be handled by the states (as was decided in Dobbs), something “all legal scholars” want.
“We’re in a tremendous position to negotiate something very good right now, and we’ll see what that is,” he said.
Trump emphasized that Republicans “have to win elections,” and that while his own view on the matter is “strong,” “most people” don’t see extensive abortion restrictions – like Florida governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis’ six-week heartbeat law – as “acceptable.”
“You have to win elections. You want to get everything done and you also have to go by your heart,” the former president said.
“This is a very amazing issue. It’s a beautiful issue. It’s a complex issue. If we get it right it’s going to be something really special,” he said.
Trump said the abortion issue “is something that has to be talked about,” but that many Republicans are “scared” to broach the subject.
“In all of this, whether you like it or not, you still have to be able to win an election,” he said. “And if the other side is going to take this issue and make you be the radical” even though “they’re the radical.”
Trump’s comments come after he rattled pro-lifers earlier this month by denouncing laws banning abortions after six weeks of pregnancy as “terrible” and giving himself full credit for the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Trump has suggested that he could “come up with a number” that would “make people happy” on both sides of the issue and put an end to the national debate.
But not all Republicans are afraid to talk about abortion or take a hardline stance against it.
Ron DeSantis, Trump’s chief Republican rival in the 2024 race, reacted to Trump’s allegations during the Wednesday night GOP primary debate, which Trump did not attend.
“I reject this idea that pro-lifers are to blame for midterm defeats,” the Florida Republican said, arguing that other factors led to their losses.
“The former president – he’s missing in action tonight – he’s had a lot to say about that,” he said. DeSantis said he wants Trump to “look into the eyes” of “people who have been fighting this [pro-life] fight for a long time” and explain his remarks “that pro-life protections are somehow a ‘terrible’ thing.”
“I think we should stand for what we believe in,” DeSantis said. “I think we should hold the Democrats accountable for their extremism, supporting abortion all the way up until the moment of birth. That is infanticide, and that is wrong.”
The presidential candidate has confirmed he would back a federal 15-week ban on abortion.