NBC’s Meet the Press aired the first extensive mainstream media interview with former President Donald Trump of the 2024 campaign. The interview Kicked off the popular Sunday morning political show under a new host, Kristen Welker.
During the interview, Welker peppered Trump with questions, often attempting to fact-check him with dubious claims of her own.
On abortion, Ms. Welker took a decidedly pro-abortion position, presenting only the abortion lobby’s talking points and falsely “fact-checking” Trump by stating that Democrats do not support abortion until birth, which of course, they do.
For his part, Trump attempted to run away from his pro-life record, refusing to take a position on when he would want to see the evil practice of abortion banned. He instead cast himself as a dealmaker that would be able to bring the nation together around some form European-style abortion policy that gradually protects more babies as they develop further through the pregnancy.
Most noticeably, Trump avoided describing himself as pro-life even once in the ten-minute segment. Instead, he promised to find a middle ground that would “make everyone happy” by leading a bi-partisan consensus to determine at what point during a pregnancy an innocent child in the womb can be intentionally killed.
From Very Pro-Choice to Pro-life to Moderate Pro-choicer
The most recent reversal in Trump’s position on abortion marks a partial return to his initial pre-2016 position where he described himself as “very pro-choice”.
In 2016, while campaigning for president as a republican, Trump changed his tune and began calling himself pro-life, without giving too many details but promising that he would appoint pro-life judges to overturn Roe v. Wade and send abortion back to the states.
Now, President Trump seems to be ditching the pro-life label, depicting himslef instead as a mediator bringing Democrats and Republicans together to agree on a particular stage of development after which abortion would be prohibited.
Political and moral compromises on fundamental rights are not only morally reprehensible, but are also political minefields. Pro-abortion activists will never forgive Trump for having contributed to overturning Roe, and pro-lifers will not trust someone who seeks to compromise on the right to life and attacks those who wish to save more lives than what is popular at this time.
But this is precisely what Trump did during the latest interview on Meet the Press.
Not only did Trump never make the case for the fundamental right to life of the preborn child during the entire interview, he also had choice words for Governor DeSantis’ FL heartbeat bill, which he called “a terrible thing” and a “terrible mistake”. He also criticized Mike Pence for having been against all abortions, including in those in the cases of rape and incest.
Kristan Hawkins of Students for Life responded to President Trump’s remarks describing Florida’s hearbeat bill as a “terrible thing”, instead calling protecting babies, the “right thing.”
Lila Rose, the founder of Live Action was even more direct calling the former president’s remarks on abortion “pathetic and unacceptable.” She concluded that Trump’s compromise with Democrats on abortion disqualify him as the GOP’s nominee.
Pro-life podcaster Seth Gruber commented that by attempting to split the vote on abortion, Trump would only succeed at angering both sides of the abortion debate.
While Kristen Waggoner, the CEO and President of Alliance Defending Freedom also lamented the former President’s attacks upon Governor DeSantis, calling pro-life laws the “hallmark of a just and moral society.”
Watch the unedited 10 minute exchange for yourselves or read the transcript below the video:
This is the full transcript of the exchange on abortion.
Welker: First I do want to talk about the issue of abortion which is important to a lot of Voters all across the country. Just this week women in Idaho and Tennessee, I don't know if you saw this, filed suit against their state saying their lives were put at risk after they were denied abortion Services because their State's restrictive laws put in place after Roe was overturned; so my question for you Mr President is how is it acceptable in America that women's lives are at risk doctors are being forced to turn away patients in need or risk breaking the law? Trump: Ready a little bit of a long answer I hope you have time I hope you have time Welker: I’m here for as long as you have. Trump: So you have Roe v Wade for 52 years. People, including Democrats, wanted it to go back to States so that states could make the right. Roe v Wade. I did something that nobody thought was possible and Roe v Wade was terminated was put back to the States. Now people, pro-lifers have the right to negotiate for the first time. They had no rights at all because the radical people on this are really, the people, the Democrats that say after five months six months, seven months, eight months, nine months and even after birth you're allowed to terminate the baby … Welker: Mr. President, Democrats aren’t saying that, I just, Democrats are not saying that, that’s no true. Trump: You have a Virginia governor, previous governor, who said after the baby is born you will make a determination and if you want you will kill that baby the baby Welker: No Mr. President, Democrats writ large are not talking about that. Only one percent of late-term abortions happen and always in a state of crisis. Trump: They are the radical people because nobody wants to see abortion after five months, and six months, and seven months, and now it's going to, it gave people the belief, and pro-life, look just so you understand it's pretty much 50 50. It's a 50 50 issue, which is amazing, uh if you look at the charts it's been 49 51 it's been like that for many years goes both ways, 51, both ways. Ready, I was able to do something which gave, at least, pro-life people a voice. Now it's going to work out. Now the number of months will be determined and you're going to have something where everybody comes together. Welker: Does it bother you though that women say their lives are being put at risk? Do you feel you bear any responsibility because as you say you are responsible? Trump: What's going to happen this is an issue that's been going on for a long time and it's a very polarizing issue because of what's been done and because of the fact we brought it back to the States we're going to have people come together on this issue. They're going to determine the time because nobody wants to see five six seven eight nine months nobody wants to see abortions when you have a baby in the womb. I said with Hillary Clinton when we had the debate I made the statement "rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month” you're allowed to do that and you shouldn't be allowed to do that. Welker: Again, no one arguing for that, that's not a part of anyone’s platform Trump: Democrats are able to kill the baby after birth. Welker: Let me talk to you, Democrats don't want that. I want to know what you want. I want to know what you're going to do. Would you sign Federal legislation that would ban abortion at 15 weeks Trump: No, no, let me just tell you what I’ll do, I’m going to come together with all groups and we're going to have something that's acceptable right now to my way of thinking, the Democrats are the radicals because after four and five and six months but but, you have to say this, after birth, you have New York State and other places that pass legislation where you're allowed to kill the baby after birth. Welker: Mr President I want to give voters who are going to be weighing in on this election a very clear sense of where you stand … Trump: I think they're all going to like me, I think both sides are going to like me but what’s going to have to happen is you're going to have to … Kristen you’re asking me a question … what's going to happen is you're going to come up with a number of weeks or months you’re going to come up with a number that's going to make people happy, because 92 percent of the Democrats don't want to see abortion after a certain period of time. Welker: If a federal ban landed on your desk, if you were re-elected, would you sign it at 15 weeks? Trump: Are you talking about a complete ban? Welker: A ban at 15 weeks. Trump: Well people people are starting to think of 15 weeks that seems to be a number that people are talking about right now. Welker: Would you sign that? Trump: I would I would sit down with both sides and I'd negotiate something and we'll end up with peace in that issue for the first time in 52 years I'm not going to say I would or I wouldn’t. I mean to DeSanctis was willing to sign a five-week and six week ban. Welker: Would you support that? Trump: I think what he did is a terrible thing and a terrible mistake but we'll come up with a number, but at the same time Democrats won't be able to go out in six months, seven months, eight months and allow an abortion. And Kristen you have to look at this because you said no you have some states that are allowed to kill the child after birth and you can't allow that. Welker: But Mr President, again, no one is calling for a child to be killed after birth, no one's calling for that. Trump: But you have legislation, you have legislation in certain states where it's allowed, the governor of Virginia, previous governor, who was a whack job, I call him the Michael Jackson governor, that Governor, that Governor said you can kill the baby after birth Welker: Mr. President, this is about what you would do if you were re-elected. Trump: As you know, we will agree to a number of weeks which will be where both sides will be happy. We have to bring the country together on this issue. Welker: Mr President when you talk about negotiating I think a lot of people think to themselves, this is an issue that they care about Trump: I care about it too. Welker: They care about it in their hearts, they know where they stand and they want to know where you stand. As you know some anti-abortion groups are really looking for some clarity from you, so let me just ask you to put a fine point on this: should the federal government impose any abortion restrictions or should it be completely left up to the states. Trump: I don't think you should have, I don't think you should be allowed to have abortions well into a pregnancy … We're going to agree to a number of weeks or months or however you want to define it and both sides are going to come together and both sides, both sides, and this is a big statement, both sides will come together, and for the first time in 52 years, you'll have an issue that we can put behind us. Welker: At the federal level? Trump: It could be state or it could be Federal, I don't frankly care. Welker: So you're not committed to a ban at the federal level. Trump: I will say this, everybody, uh including the great legal Scholars, love the idea of Roe v Wade terminated so it be brought back to the States Welker: It sounds like that's what you think too? Trump: I would say this from a pure standpoint, from a legal standpoint, I think it's probably better but I can live with it either way it's much more important the number of weeks is much more important. But something will happen with the number of weeks, the amount of time after which you can't do it, and you know what? The most uh, the most powerful people that are anti-abortion are okay with that now, and you know what they weren't okay with that even a year ago. Welker: Your former vice president Mike Pence believes that a fetus should have constitutional rights, do you believe that Mr President? Trump: Mike Pence said something about 15 weeks too, which was a big change for Mike Pence, because Mike Pence had no exceptions. I have exceptions by the way, I think people should have exceptions. I think if it's rape or incest or the life of the mother, I think you have to have exceptions. Welker: Does the fetus have constitutional rights, Mr. President? Trump: And a lot of people when they don't have exceptions, now, I will tell you that I think most people most Republicans are willing, uh, you go life of the mother, rape, incest I think most of them are, are there. That’s a big statement. Welker: But should a fetus have constitutional rights Mr. President? Trump: Well I don't know, I don't know what he's saying because, before he wanted you know you couldn't have abortion at all! Pence: What are you saying? Trump: Excuse me, now all of a sudden he's saying 15 weeks, I said wow where did that come from, that's a radical change. Look something is going to happen that's going to be good for everybody and that's what, I’m, I'm almost like a mediator in this case. They wanted Roe v Wade terminated because it was inappropriate, we got it done. Something's going to happen, it's going to be a number of weeks. Something's going to happen where the both sides are going to be able to come together and then we'll be able to go on to other things like the economy our military. Welker: Are you saying a federal band with exceptions is that what you're saying? Trump: Uh, what I say is very simple, because you can't put words in my mouth like that, I just want, you’ve been hearing me talk about this issue, and I think talk about it uh very productively. It could be a state ban, it could be a federal ban, but Democrats want that too. Democrats don't want to see abortion in the seventh month, okay, I speak to a lot of Democrats, they want a number there is a number and there's a number that's going to be agreed to and Republicans should go out and say the following because I think the Republicans speak very inarticulately about this subject. I watch some of them without the exceptions etc etc, I said, other than certain parts of the country you can't you're not going to win on this issue. But you will win on this issue when you come up with the right number of weeks because Democrats don't want to be radical on the issue, most of them, some do, they don't want to be radical in the issue they don't want to kill a baby in the seventh month or the ninth month or after birth and they're allowed to do that and you can't do that.