Republicans Who ‘Poorly Handled’ Abortion Responsible for Disappointing Midterm Results: Trump

Former President Donald Trump blamed Republican candidates who mishandled the issue of abortion as the reason for the GOP’s lackluster midterm performance.

“It wasn’t my fault that the Republicans didn’t live up to expectations in the MidTerms. I was 233-20!! Trump wrote on his Truth Social account on Jan. 1, referring to his endorsement records for the November elections.

“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 added.

Democrats defied expectations of a sweeping “red wave” on Nov. 8, doing better than expected in House and the governor races, while keeping their majority in the Senate. Since then, some have pinned the blame for the GOP’s underperformance on Trump, including those within the Republican Party.

Mitch McConnell
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, (R-Ky.), and his leadership team arrive to speak to reporters following a closed-door policy meeting, at the Capitol in Washington on Dec. 13, 2022. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blamed Trump in mid-December, when he told reporters that the GOP couldn’t field better nominees because of Trump’s endorsements.

“Our ability to control primary outcomes was quite limited in [2022] because the support of the former president proved to be very decisive in these primaries,” McConnell said. “Hopefully in the next cycle, we’ll have quality candidates everywhere and a better outcome.”

McConnell specifically called out nominees in three states.

“Look at Arizona, look at New Hampshire, and the challenging situation in Georgia as well,” McConnell added. “You have to have quality candidates to win competitive Senate races.”

Trump has 16 to 8 endorsement records in the Senate races, according to Ballotpedia. The losses include Blake Masters in Arizona, Don Bolduc in New Hampshire, Herschel Walker in Georgia, Kelly Tshibaka in Alaska, Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, and Adam Laxalt in Nevada.

In his post on Sunday, Trump also blamed McConnell for GOP midterm losses over his campaign spending.

Sunday was not the first time that Trump has pinned the blame on McConnell. In November, he said McConnell “blew the midterms” when he chose not to support Republican candidates including Masters.

The Senate Leadership Fund, a political action committee with close ties to McConnell, slashed millions in campaign spending for the Arizona Senate race in the weeks leading up to the Nov. 8 election.

Also on Sunday, Trump said voters who pushed against abortion “got their wish” when the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, but these people “just plain disappeared.”

The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on June 24 following a 6–3 vote. Justice Samuel Alito, who wrote the court’s majority opinion, said that “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start,” and “It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives.”


In an interview with WABC 77 radio station on Sunday morning, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said Democrats will continue to push for abortion and Republicans must “fight back.”

“The ostrich method doesn’t work if they’re spending $30 million against you saying you won’t protect a woman who’s had a miscarriage or has had an ectopic pregnancy,” McDaniel said. “Republicans have to fight back.”

“We have to push our consulting class to not ignore issues,” she continued. “And we have to be conversant and push back on the Democrats who are extreme on this issue.”

“We don’t believe in gender-selected abortions. We don’t believe the baby should be aborted on its due date,” she added. “We should be able to talk about being pro-life in a way that’s humanitarian and also talk about building consensus.”

“We know that the Democrats are going to continue to push on this issue heading into 2024,” McDaniel concluded.

Trump is currently the only known candidate for the 2024 presidential election, after he announced his bid for the presidency in November last year. Last month, the White House revealed that President Joe Biden was expected to make a decision on 2024 after the holidays.

A recent poll by Vanderbilt University, when 1,180 registered Tennessee voters were polled between Nov. 8 and Nov. 28, showed 75 percent of Tennesseans across the political spectrum supported access to abortion in cases of rape or incest.

When breaking down the response by party affiliation, 62 percent of Republicans, 78 percent of Independents, and 93 percent of Democrats favored exceptions.

The poll also found that Tennesseans did not want to see a repeat of the 2020 presidential election. Only 36 percent wanted Trump to run for president, while only 22 percent would like to see Biden run for reelection.

Meanwhile, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis enjoyed more support in a potential head-to-head matchup against Trump in 2024, according to the poll. Fifty-four percent of registered Republicans said they would support DeSantis, while 41 percent favored Trump.

However, Trump had an edge over DeSantis in another poll. McLaughlin & Associates, in a poll (pdf) conducted between Dec. 9 and Dec. 14, found that 58 percent would support Trump in a Republican presidential primary, while 36 percent threw their support behind DeSantis.

Frank Fang

Frank Fang is a Taiwan-based journalist. He covers US, China, and Taiwan news. He holds a master’s degree in materials science from Tsinghua University in Taiwan.

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