Sep 20, 2023 - Politics & Policy

DeSantis calls Trump abortion comments a "big mistake"

MIDLAND, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 20: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to members of the media and site workers at the Permian Deep Rock Oil Company site during a campaign event on September 20, 2023 in Midland, Texas

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to members of the media and site workers at the Permian Deep Rock Oil Company site on Sept. 20 in Midland, Texas. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took aim at former President Trump for calling Florida's six-week abortion ban "terrible" and said that Trump is "a different candidate today than he was" in 2015, during an ABC News interview.

Driving the news: "He's taking positions that I think are different from what he took in 2015 when he first came onto the scene," said DeSantis.

  • "I do think he's a different candidate today than he was back then," he added.
  • "And I think the one back then was probably closer to where Republican voters want to be than the latest iteration."

The big picture: Trump criticized DeSantis on Sunday for signing a six-week abortion ban in his state during an interview with NBC's "Meet the Press."

  • "I think what he did is a terrible thing and a terrible mistake," Trump said of Florida's ban.
  • DeSantis hit back against Trump's remarks during the ABC News interview, saying: "For him to then attack people like Iowa, South Carolina, Florida, all these other states, I thought was a big mistake."

Zoom out: Trump's comment drew criticism from anti-abortion activists, including including Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R), who has a prominent national stature as the governor of the first-in-the-nation caucuses.

  • "It's never a 'terrible thing' to protect innocent life," Reynolds wrote on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
  • Reynolds, like DeSantis, has supported a 6-week abortion ban in her state.

What they're saying: Steven Cheung, a spokesperson for Trump's campaign, defended the former president's abortion record in a statement and said that his "unmatched record speaks for itself."

  • "There has been no bigger advocate for the movement than President Trump," Cheung said.

Go deeper: The GOP's runaway train on abortion

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