Failed Republican gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon said former President Donald Trump advised her to “talk differently about abortion,” as she took a hardline approach on the issue during her bid to unseat Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last year.
Speaking with Trump on her podcast episode that aired Wednesday, Dixon said: “I’ll tell my viewers that you came to me and you said, ‘You gotta talk differently about abortion.’ And we could not pivot, we could not pivot in time and it really, you were absolutely right, sir.”
Dixon, a conservative commentator, said to to the former president, “I hope that you are able to navigate that, that issue in ’24 and that we can win those women back because they are already putting out attack ads, and it is not a fair issue for them to attack on.”
Trump said in response that what happened to Dixon “happened to a lot of other people” but “didn’t happen to me because, you know, there’s a way of talking about it.”
Dixon was one of many Republicans who struggled in the midterm elections to navigate the fraught politics of abortion after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Dixon took a hardline approach on the issue and said during her campaign she opposed exceptions for rape or incest.
She ultimately lost to Whitmer, a staunch advocate for abortion rights, by more than 10 points.
Trump, meanwhile, has said he supports exceptions to abortion restrictions for rape, incest and when the life of the mother is in danger. “They’re the radicals, we’re not the radicals, they’re the radicals and you have to explain it,” Trump said of Democrats. “And I think exceptions are very important, I think you need the exceptions, you and I talked about that.”
The former president has privately blamed anti-abortion hard-liners for the party’s lackluster 2022 midterm results and has largely steered clear of the issue on the campaign trail. He has said he believes the federal government should play a role in restricting abortion but has not specified what kind of federal legislation he would push for or support if he were to be reelected next year.
Trump has specifically described the six-week abortion ban signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a rival for the Republican presidential nomination, as “too harsh,” even as he frequently touts his appointment of three Supreme Court justices who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade.
For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at CNN.com