Within the chaos of Wednesday evening’s noisy Republican presidential debate, Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina interrupted Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida to pose a query on abortion that Mr. DeSantis had dodged straight answering for months.
Would the Florida governor signal a “15-week restrict” on abortion as president, Mr. Scott requested, speaking over each Mr. DeSantis and Dana Perino, one of many moderators, in a manner that made his full remarks tough to listen to.
“Sure, I’ll,” Mr. DeSantis replied.
The second — which largely escaped consideration in actual time however was noted by The Each day Sign, a information web site printed by the conservative Heritage Basis suppose tank — clarifies Mr. DeSantis’s place on abortion, a problem that has break up the Republican main discipline. Mr. DeSantis signed a six-week abortion ban in Florida this 12 months, however had not clearly dedicated to supporting federal laws proscribing the termination of pregnancies.
Mr. DeSantis is utilizing abortion to assault former President Donald J. Trump, notably in socially conservative states like Iowa, the place he’s making his largest push to dethrone Mr. Trump because the race’s front-runner.
Regardless of appointing the Supreme Courtroom justices who proved essential in overturning Roe v. Wade, Mr. Trump has ducked questions on whether or not he would assist a 15-week ban, the baseline place of many anti-abortion activists within the Republican Get together. And, with a transparent eye on the overall election — the place a hard-line place on abortion might flip off average and impartial voters and impress Democrats — Mr. Trump has criticized Mr. DeSantis for signing the six-week ban, calling it a “horrible mistake.”
Mr. DeSantis used these feedback to open a line of assault towards the previous president, telling “pro-lifers” that Mr. Trump was “making ready to promote you out.” Different conservatives, together with Kim Reynolds, the favored Republican governor of Iowa who signed the same abortion ban, have additionally joined in criticizing Mr. Trump. (Few ladies know they’re pregnant by six weeks.)
Steven Cheung, a spokesman for Mr. Trump, mentioned that the previous president had “championed the lifetime of the unborn.”
Beforehand, Mr. DeSantis had typically mentioned he would assist anti-abortion laws however had not dedicated to signing such a federal ban. On the first debate in Milwaukee final month, Mr. DeSantis appeared to hedge when requested if he would assist a six-week ban as president. “I’m going to face on the aspect of life,” he mentioned, including that conservative and liberal states would need to deal with abortion restrictions otherwise.
On Thursday, Mr. DeSantis’s marketing campaign disputed the concept that his feedback had been a change from his previous place, pointing to an interview he gave to Radio Iowa this month. Requested if he would signal a 15-week ban, Mr. DeSantis mentioned, “You place pro-life laws on my desk, I’m going to look favorably and assist the laws.”
Different candidates working for the Republican nomination have been extra clear. Former Vice President Mike Pence has mentioned he helps a minimum of a 15-week ban. Mr. Scott has additionally prompt he would, at a minimal, signal a 15-week ban. On the identical time, former Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina, who calls herself “unapologetically pro-life,” has knocked her rivals for what she has mentioned are empty guarantees, provided that Republicans would discover it practically unimaginable to drive such restrictions by means of a polarized Congress.
Abortion barely featured at Wednesday’s matchup, after taking part in a much more outstanding function on the earlier debate. Solely Mr. DeSantis and former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey had been requested to remark. The query that prompted Mr. Scott’s interruption was a problem to Mr. DeSantis asking how he would win over abortion rights supporters in Arizona, a key swing state.
Mr. DeSantis responded that he had received a convincing re-election in Florida final 12 months. And he took the chance to criticize Mr. Trump, who skipped the talk.
“The previous president, you already know, he’s lacking in motion tonight,” Mr. DeSantis mentioned. “He’s had so much to say about that. He ought to be right here explaining his feedback to attempt to say that pro-life protections are in some way a horrible factor.”
The following day, Democrats seized on Mr. DeSantis’s pledge to signal a 15-week ban — a reminder of how potent each events see the difficulty in November’s election. On Twitter, the Democratic Nationwide Committee’s speedy response “Struggle Room” account said that Mr. DeSantis had “an excessive anti-abortion file” and wished to “rip away reproductive freedoms from ladies throughout the nation.”