Trump Raises Eyebrows With Rant About Pro-Lifers and the Mid-Terms

AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Why did Republicans underperform during the 2022 mid-terms? That question has become a near-constant point of contention on the right.

Was it a candidate quality issue? I’d argue that was certainly the case in several high-profile races, but that’s obviously not the only thing that plagued the GOP. There was also a lack of coherent messaging from leadership, and in many important races, Democrats were simply able to outspend their opponents by large margins. The RNC’s inability to harvest votes and bank early votes didn’t help either.

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Donald Trump is looking elsewhere for an explanation, though. In an eyebrow-raising rant on Sunday, he appeared to blame pro-lifers for GOP woes.

I’m not here to bag on Trump just for the sake of bagging on him. I get that he has a lot of supporters who still want him to be the guy in 2024. That’s fair enough, but this statement is concerning, to say the least.

Speaking from experience, being pro-life isn’t a political convenience. It’s not something a person just flips on and off to win elections. It’s a deep-seated belief at the very core of who someone is that taking the life of an unborn baby is wrong. Let’s say that Trump is right, and pro-lifer positions did cause the GOP to underperform in the last election. So what?

The bigger problem is, though, that he’s not really right. To start, there were essentially no Republican candidates arguing for “no exceptions, even in the case of rape, incest, or life of the mother.” Who is he talking about when he says the issue was “poorly handled by many Republicans?” At first, I figured he meant Lindsey Graham, but Graham is a big Trump-ally. Further, his abortion proposal was a 15-week ban, which is not what Trump is talking about.

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In other words, Trump is beating a strawman. But it’s the second part of his statement that really makes me question his sincerity on a broader level. He goes on to write, “Also, the people who pushed so hard, for decades, against abortion, got their wish from the U.S. Supreme Court, & just plain disappeared.”

Now, wait a second. I thought Trump was happy that Roe was overturned. Is he no longer part of the group pushing “against abortion?” Because it sure seems like he’s trying to disconnect himself from those “other” pro-lifers to stake out a more moderate position on the matter. What happened to all that “the most pro-life president in history” stuff? Lastly, his statement is also contradictory in that he claims pro-lifers “disappeared,” yet a few lines earlier, he was blaming their supposed outspokenness for screwing up the mid-terms.

This entire thing is just dumb. I get that Trump wants to pretend he had nothing to do with the GOP’s electoral underperformance, but blaming some of his most loyal supporters is a low blow. A lot of Republicans have supported Trump over the years solely because he has advanced the pro-life cause. If he thinks he can move away from that and still remain popular on the hard right that has enabled him, he might want to reconsider that.

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And as an addendum, I’d suggest that whether one thinks Trump is right or wrong on this point, saying what he said serves no purpose. Who is he reaching on Truth Social? Why does he even feel the need to defend himself about the mid-terms? If anything, he’s just drawing attention to his own failures.

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