Trump blasts MAGA ally Lindsey Graham on Truth Social for criticizing his abortion stance

The former president's effort to portray himself as a "moderate" on abortion is causing a rift with some GOP allies

Published April 9, 2024 11:12AM (EDT)

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina is speaking during a press briefing in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 18, 2024. (Ukrinform/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina is speaking during a press briefing in Kyiv, Ukraine, on March 18, 2024. (Ukrinform/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Sen. Lindsey Graham and former President Donald Trump have been close allies in recent years. But following Trump’s comments on abortion Monday, in which the Republican candidate tried to distance himself from calls for a national ban, the South Carolina senator criticized him, "The idea of the Republican Party abandoning the opposition to late-term abortion, I think, would be a mistake." 

Trump did not take the criticism lightly.

“Senator Lindsey Graham is doing a great disservice to the Republican Party, and to our Country,” Trump wrote about one of his top allies on Capitol Hill, adding that the senator "constantly favors and promotes" military interventions abroad. Instead of abortion, an electoral burden for the GOP, Trump argued that Republicans should spend more time discussing the U.S.- Mexico border situation.

Trump’s public position on abortion is meant to disarm Democrats, who he claims “love this issue.” By pursuing a federal abortion ban, now, Republicans like Graham are “handing Democrats their dream of the House, Senate, and perhaps even the Presidency," Trump wrote.

Graham has been a devoted supporter of Trump in Congress, consistently defending him against Democrats, despite arguing in 2016 that Trump would destroy the Republican Party ("and we will deserve it," he wrote on social media at the time). When Graham introduced a bill in September 2022 to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, he along with other anti-choice Republicans were hoping for Trump's support.

However, in Monday’s video, Trump, while boasting that he helped overturn Roe v. Wade, refused to publicly support a national prohibition. Graham, for his part, said he "respectfully" disagreed with that.

“The states’ rights issue, I think, is not about the pro-life movement,” Graham told HuffPost. “It’s a political position that I think doesn’t make sense if you’re pro-life, because pro-life is about the well-being of the unborn child.”

But other Republican senators who support a federal ban endorsed Trump's new, public position on the matter, at least for now, a seeming acknowledgment of how the issue has hurt the party's performance in recent elections.

“Some of the same Republican senators who supported that bill maintain it should be left up to the states, in yet another way Trump has scrambled traditional GOP orthodoxy and forced his party into uncomfortable debates they once agreed on,” HuffPost reported.

“There’s no way this United States Congress is going to pass a federal rule on abortion. I mean, it’s just not,” Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., told HuffPost. “A bill like that is dead as Dillinger, so why debate it? It’s not going to happen.”

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