Berliner Tageblatt - Biden hammers Trump on abortion in Florida

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Biden hammers Trump on abortion in Florida
Biden hammers Trump on abortion in Florida / Photo: © AFP

Biden hammers Trump on abortion in Florida

US President Joe Biden hammered Donald Trump on Tuesday over his role in restricting abortion rights, telling a crowd in Florida that voters will hold his Republican predecessor and opponent personally "accountable" in November.

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Shortly after Trump departed the New York courtroom where he is on trial, the Democratic president -- whose campaign views the abortion issue as potentially key to winning reelection -- took the stage at a university in Tampa.

"Let's be real clear. There's one person responsible for this nightmare. And he's acknowledged it and he brags about it: Donald Trump," said Biden.

The conservative-dominated US Supreme Court in 2022 overturned 50 years of legal precedent and revoked the nationwide right to abortion, with many Republican-led states quickly moving to restrict or outright ban the procedure.

Trump, who often brags about his three Supreme Court nominees being key to that abortion decision, is "literally taking us back 160 years," Biden said, in an apparent reference to Arizona's strict new ban based on an 1864 law.

In Florida, a ban on abortions after six weeks of pregnancy is set to go into effect on May 1.

Biden and the Democratic Party hope to capitalize in November on voters' wariness of abortion restrictions pushed by Republicans, some of whom have called for a nationwide ban.

And the Democrats have some reason behind their aspirations: Abortion rights campaigners have won every time the issue has gone directly to voters in referenda.

Florida is set to vote in November on a measure that would enshrine abortion rights in the state's constitution and effectively overturn the six-week ban.

"Trump is worried voters are going to hold him accountable for the cruelty and chaos he created. Folks, the bad news for Trump is, we are going to hold him accountable," Biden said.

- Florida flip? -

The president's reelection campaign said Tuesday it believed it could win populous Florida, which is rich in electoral votes, even though it has a Republican governor and Trump won there in both 2016 and 2020.

"Florida is not an easy state to win, but it is a winnable one for President Biden," campaign spokeswoman Julie Chavez Rodriguez said.

While the Supreme Court decision was a major victory for the religious right, a majority of Americans favor at least some abortion protections.

"Trump is hoping that Americans will somehow forget that he's responsible for the horror women are facing in this country every single day because of him," she added.

Biden, 81 and a lifelong Catholic, has long fought Trump on abortion, an issue on which the 77-year-old has found himself pinned between hardline Republicans and more moderate voters.

Trump, who has a looser affiliation with religion, has recently tried to strike a more hands-off tone, suggesting at first he'd sign a 15-week national ban before saying the decision belongs to the states.

"This isn't about state rights, it's about women's rights," Biden argued Tuesday.

Chavez Rodriguez also warned "Trump and his allies have no intention at stopping their assault on reproductive rights."

Trump's conservative vice president Mike Pence, meanwhile, wrote in The New York Times that his former boss has "betrayed the pro-life movement."

While abortion rights votes have succeeded in conservative states, it remains to be seen whether they'll translate into votes for Biden.

In 2016 a measure to raise the minimum wage, long a Democratic priority, was put on the ballot, alongside choices for the president.

The wage measure won over a majority of voters -- but Trump won, too.

B.Shevchenko--BTB