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GOP senator: I texted Trump to ‘applaud’ his abortion comments

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Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D) reached out to Donald Trump after the former president said Monday that he would not support a national abortion ban — to “applaud him.”

Trump’s position frustrated anti-abortion activists who had hoped he would endorse federal restrictions, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he “respectfully” disagreed with the stance. But Cramer said Trump had staked out a position that’s in a “safe zone politically” for their party, which has been dogged by perennial questions about its abortion stance since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. 

“[I] applaud him for finally saying that, you know, succinctly and putting to rest any notion that he is supporting some sort of a federal ban at any level, because … he referenced an openness a while back,” Cramer told reporters on Tuesday.

“I texted [Trump] right away,” Cramer added. “I said, ‘really well done.’”

Trump’s position is likely to hold major sway over congressional Republicans as they weigh any future decisions to legislate on abortion, should they emerge from this fall’s elections holding the majority in either chamber.

Graham reiterated his own support for a national abortion ban at 15 weeks of pregnancy during remarks to reporters on Monday after he took issue with Trump’s stance.

Cramer, on Tuesday, said that he had told Graham he “watched the whole four minutes [of Trump’s video] smiling, thinking, ‘this is pretty much this is where I’ve always believed he was.’” But he also did not see Trump’s statement as a pledge to automatically reject any bill that would ban abortion at the national level if he wins back the White House.

Trump was “clearly … advising against us legislation like that” but didn’t issue a conclusive no, Cramer said.

The North Dakotan added that he expected Graham to reintroduce his 15-week ban legislation — though the South Carolina Republican didn’t commit to that when talking with reporters on Monday.

“We’ll see whether he does it, and if he does do it, how many people jump on board,” Cramer said.