Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he was “surprised” by former President Donald Trump’s criticism of his state’s six-week abortion ban.
Trump called the ban “too harsh” last month in an interview with The Messenger.
“If you look at what DeSantis did, a lot of people don’t even know if he knew what he was doing,” Trump said. “But he signed six weeks, and many people within the pro-life movement feel that that was too harsh.”
DeSantis, who has consistently polled a distant second to Trump, finally took the opportunity to respond.
“I was really surprised because he’s a Florida resident,” he told CBN News’ David Brody in an interview set to air on Friday.
“I thought he would compliment the fact that we were able to do the heartbeat bill, which pro-lifers have wanted for a long time,” DeSantis went on. “He never complimented, never said anything about it then he was asked about it and he said it was ‘harsh.’”
Asked if he thought Trump was being “too soft” on abortion in a follow-up question, DeSantis responded, “I think so.”
“While I appreciate what the former president has done in a variety of realms, he opposes that bill,” he said. “He said it was ‘harsh’ to protect an unborn child when there’s a detectable heartbeat. I think that’s humane to do.”
“I think pro-lifers have been wanting to see good pro-life protections whether it’s Florida or Iowa under Kim Reynolds,” DeSantis added.
Polling suggests most Americans agree with Trump, which he may be counting on if he has to face President Joe Biden in the general election. Democrats will seek to make abortion rights a central issue.
A Gallup poll released Wednesday found that 69% of Americans support abortion rights through the first trimester, or about 12 weeks. Only 37% support it through the second trimester.