Donald Trump has always been the kind of guy who accepts credit for everything good that happens to Republicans and deflects blame for everything bad. The former president told NewsNation the night before the midterm election that he should “get all the credit” if the candidates he backed won their races and “not be blamed at all” if they lost.
Many of those candidates did lose, of course. And now Trump, who successfully campaigned on filling Supreme Court vacancies with anti-abortion justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, says he is not to blame for the GOP’s problems in the midterms—abortion was the problem.
“It wasn’t my fault that the Republicans didn’t live up to expectations in the MidTerms,” he wrote Sunday on Truth Social. “I was 233-20! It was the ‘abortion issue,’ poorly handled by many Republicans, especially those that firmly insisted on No Exceptions, even in the case of Rape, Incest, or Life of the Mother, that lost large numbers of Voters.”
Trump continued: “Also, the people that pushed so hard, for decades, against abortion, got their wish from the U.S. Supreme Court, & just plain disappeared, not to be seen again.”
To be clear: Trump is very much correct that Republicans’ crusade against abortion rights and the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs hurt their candidates badly in the midterm elections, on a year they had been expected to sweep. But for him to point the finger at others for being too extreme on the issue, when he openly insisted on “punishment” for people who have abortions, is absurd. And for the former president to try to separate himself from the issue, when he appointed three of the justices who voted to overturn Roe—and rammed Amy Coney Barrett through to the court after Ruth Bader Ginsburg died just before an election—beggars belief.
The anti-abortion movement, most of whom couldn’t stand Trump during the primaries and actively campaigned against him, ultimately used him as a vehicle to overturn Roe. He was happy to be their useful idiot and help galvanize Bible Belt voters, as long as it meant winning. The plan worked, and the heavily-Trump-appointed Supreme Court revoked half a century of abortion rights—which was a deeply unpopular move that has beget months of horrible headlines and likely cost Republicans control of the Senate. And now Trump wants to detangle himself from the issue. I’m choking on the irony.
Anyway, the good news is that Republicans are realizing how badly they misjudged the national temperature on abortion rights, after many were punished at the ballot box for it. The bad news is that most of them don’t care and will continue their legislative war to control our our uteruses. It’s going to be an interesting year.