Pence Attacks Trump’s Abortion Statement as a ‘Slap in the Face’

Former Vice President Mike Pence delivered a scathing rebuke to former President Donald J. Trump’s announcement on Monday that he thought abortion rights should be left to the states, calling Mr. Trump’s video statement a “slap in the face” to the anti-abortion voters who supported him in 2016 and 2020.

In a statement on social media, he described Mr. Trump as retreating on the issue and indicated that his discontent was centered on Mr. Trump’s lack of endorsement, or any mention at all, of a federal ban.

“Too many Republican politicians are all too ready to wash their hands of the battle for life,” wrote Mr. Pence, who told Fox News last month that he would not endorse his former boss after briefly running against him last year.

He repeated a line that he has said often, noting that the Trump-Pence administration “helped send Roe v. Wade to the ash heap of history where it belongs” by nominating justices to the Supreme Court who ultimately helped overturn Roe during their tenure.

Many Republicans have shied away from backing national abortion restrictions, after the politically potent issue helped boost Democrats in the last several elections. Mr. Trump’s statement, in which he said that whatever each state decides “must be the law of the land, and in this case, the law of the state,” came after months of concern that the issue could hurt him this fall.

But Mr. Pence, an evangelical Christian who embraced abortion restrictions at the federal level shortly after Roe was overturned, has criticized fellow Republicans for their wavering stances and has said that the procedure should be outlawed in every state. Mr. Pence has long centered abortion restrictions in his political platform, dating back to his time as a congressman from Indiana, and his selection as Mr. Trump’s vice president helped boost Mr. Trump among evangelical voters.

Mr. Pence’s own presidential bid counted on reaching those voters, as he backed a federal ban at six weeks, and he, at times, criticized Mr. Trump over his position on abortion, telling listeners at a conservative conference in September that Mr. Trump and other candidates were “trying to marginalize the cause of life.” But his run ended in October after he struggled to find a viable path to the nomination.

“However much our Republican nominee or other candidates seek to marginalize the cause of life,” Mr. Pence said Monday, “I know pro-life Americans will never relent until we see the sanctity of life restored to the center of American law in every state in this country.”

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