Publicly, the former president took credit for abrogating the rights of millions of American women, putting out a statement saying Roe’s repeal was “only made possible because I delivered everything as promised, including nominating and getting three highly respected and strong Constitutionalists confirmed to the United States Supreme Court.”
But privately, the former president is anxious about what the end of Roe, and the flood of extreme Republican state-level anti-abortion laws it will unleash, will mean for the GOP’s electoral prospects — and for his own.
“He keeps shitting all over his greatest accomplishment. When you speak to him, it’s the response of someone fearing the backlash and fearing the politics of what happens when conservatives actually get what they want [on abortion],” says one source who has talked to Trump about this in the weeks following the SCOTUS draft opinion leak. “I do not think he’s enjoying the moment as much as many of his supporters are, to be honest with you.”
Trump has remarked privately that if Republicans wanted to be “really smart” during the 2022 midterm elections, the party should focus on Democrats and “late-term abortions” while steering clear of markedly less popular conservative positions on the issue, according to another person who spoke to the ex-president in the past two months.
Republicans have recently passed laws seeking to ban abortion in nearly all cases, including some that lack exceptions for women who were raped or victims of incest. Trump has been skeptical of the political wisdom of that strategy since at least the middle of his presidency.
“Several years ago…I remember being at a dinner with [Trump] at the White House, where there were several Democrat[ic] and Republican senators and congressman,” says Dallas megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress, who advised Trump throughout his campaign and term in office. “He absolutely savaged the Democrats present — in a polite way — for having the view that abortion should be legal up until the moment the child is born. He used the term ‘barbaric,’ if I recall correctly,” says Dallas megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress, who advised Trump throughout his campaign and term in office. “He asked the Democrats at the table how they could believe that.”
In May, Trump privately complained to allies that he worried the Republicans extreme position on abortion would hurt his position with suburban women. A source told Rolling Stone that Trump was “worried women in the suburbs could punish him for this one day.” The New York Times’ Maggie Habberman reported Friday that following the release of the Dobbs decision Trump privately told allies that the fallout from the end of Roe would be “bad for Republicans.” Haberman also reported on Friday that “Trump also described the Texas six-week ban and citizen lawsuit measure ‘so stupid,’ according a person with direct knowledge of the comment.”
Trump was responsible for the nomination of Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett, whose elevation to the court secured the conservative majority long desired by Republicans hell bent on securing the power to legislate from the nation’s most powerful bench.
Delivering the court to Republicans is considered by many to be the greatest, and longest lasting legacy of the Trump presidency. His appointments are yielding dividends in monumental decisions for the conservative agenda, such as the overturning of Roe, and New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, which ruled that public possession of handguns was a constitutional right under the Second Amendment.
With the end of Roe Republicans are setting their sites on the future, including a national press to restrict abortion access across all 50 states, and former vice president Mike Pence called for a national abortion ban. In a concurring opinion by Judge Clarence Thomas, the judge indicated that the Supreme Court should reconsider the rulings on cases that established the right to contraception, same-sex marriage, and protections for same-sex relationships.
Regardless of his concerns, by Friday evening Trump’s political operation was fundraising off of the historic victory at the highest court in the land. “Roe v. Wade has been OVERTURNED thanks to Pres Trump! Do you support the Supreme Court’s decision? TELL US HERE,” the Trump team texted supporters and donors on Friday night.