Donald Trump just made his first significant political error of the 2024 nomination battle, and it's a doozy.

After being asked about the abortion issue by Semafor reporter Shelby Talcott, Trump took to Truth Social to post the following:
It wasn’t my fault that the Republicans didn’t live up to expectations in the MidTerms. 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. Also, the people that...

Donald Trump just made his first significant political error of the 2024 nomination battle, and it’s a doozy.

After being asked about the abortion issue by Semafor reporter Shelby Talcott, Trump took to Truth Social to post the following:

It wasn’t my fault that the Republicans didn’t live up to expectations in the MidTerms. 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. Also, the people that pushed so hard, for decades, against abortion, got their wish from the US Supreme Court, & just plain disappeared, not to be seen again. Plus, Mitch stupid $’s!

It’s hard to express how many factually false claims Trump makes in this “Truth”.

First, not one single candidate Trump endorsed who lost backed his fictional “no exceptions even in the case of rape incest or life of the mother.” While a handful of pro-life Republicans take issue with rape and incest exceptions — under the argument that punishing an innocent child for the vile nature of its creation is no corrective — literally no one Trump endorsed oppose abortion in cases where the mother’s life is at stake. Arguably the most pro-life candidate he endorsed was Tudor Dixon in Michigan, who still backed such an exception.

Second, Trump claims the pro-life position moved large numbers of voters against Republicans. This is true, to a degree — a post-election report from the Heritage Foundation found that abortion is the only policy issue where Democrats earned more trust than Republicans.

But if abortion was the determining issue of the cycle, you would expect a slew of pro-life candidates to struggle. Instead, they all won — even in high stakes targeted races. Marco Rubio and Ron DeSantis won easily in Florida, Brian Kemp won in Georgia, Greg Abbott won in Texas, Mike DeWine and J.D. Vance won in Ohio and the long list of Trump-endorsed Senate candidates who won — such as Ted Budd in North Carolina, Eric Schmitt in Missouri, Markwayne Mullin in Oklahoma and Katie Britt in Alabama — were all solidly pro-life. Arguing that abortion politics was more to blame for the one Senate seat that flipped — Pennsylvania’s — than the utter failure of Trump-endorsed gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano to even field a campaign is quite the stretch.

Third, Trump says pro-life voters got what they wanted from the Supreme Court then “just plain disappeared, not to be seen again.” There is literally no evidence for this statement whatsoever. The Republican Party had a massive success in turning out its voters, winning the popular vote nationwide by 51-48 percent. There’s plenty of evidence that Democrats increased the number of young voters, which was the largest in a midterm in thirty years, thanks to the abortion issue. But the increase of the pro-abortion vote doesn’t decrease the other side. Trump’s suggestion that pro-life voters didn’t show up is just a lie.

Fourth, “Mitch’s stupid $’s” can be blamed and should be blamed for the mistakes made under McConnell’s leadership. It’s blame I’ve laid at his feet as well. But McConnell’s spending also probably salvaged J.D. Vance’s underfunded campaign in Ohio, and it’s Trump’s decision to sit on the massive war chest he has instead of spending it in key races to back his favored candidates that was just as much of a difference-maker. It also doesn’t make sense to be mad at McConnell when the disappointment included gubernatorial and House races across the country — blame him for the Senate losses, sure, but that’s it.

Trump betraying the pro-life cause on Dobbs has been telegraphed for a long time. His early reaction to the decision was reportedly one of skepticism, worrying about what its ramifications would be for the GOP. Where Mike Pence has praised Dobbs as the singular achievement of the Trump presidency, the former president didn’t even mention it in his announcement speech at Mar-a-Lago.

Trump’s decision to run to the right on the pro-life issue was likely the reason he won the nomination in 2016, thanks to a list of judges he released to quell fears among pro-life conservatives. Rather than claiming the Dobbs decision as the biggest win of his presidency and leaning into goodwill from the pro-life community, Trump now seems to be blaming them for his failed 2022 endorsements. He’s managed to buy into abortion politics spin from the fake news, reveal himself as only a transactional foe of abortion, and provide a huge opening for pro-lifers to bash him — one which several competing candidates will likely seize upon. No candidate who wants to give up on the abortion issue will be the Republican nominee in 2024, especially one who blames pro-lifers for being a drag on the party.