GOP tries to steer clear of abortion politics as midterm plans take shape

2 weeks ago 61

(CNN)Senate Republicans gathered down closed doors connected Tuesday day for the archetypal clip since a bombshell draught Supreme Court determination that would onslaught down Roe v. Wade was leaked.

But alternatively than celebrating a milestone that astir of them person spent decades trying to execute -- banning termination -- Republicans alternatively focused connected different issue: How the papers became public, underscoring the governmental sensitivity of their imaginable and long-awaited victory.

The GOP senators lamented however the unprecedented breach of the draught sentiment could harm the integrity of the tribunal and privately mused astir however the printer of the uploaded draught sentiment could perchance beryllium identified, according to 2 sources acquainted with their conversations. They besides discussed that whoever archetypal gave the sentiment to Politico did truthful connected purpose, noting that the Supreme Court typically shreds delicate documents and implements different techniques to forestall idiosyncratic from uncovering them by chance.

    Afterward, GOP leaders emerged, anxious to speech astir conscionable astir thing too the substance of the draught opinion, which would overturn the law close to an termination and instantly interaction millions of Americans crossed the country.

      "I deliberation the communicative contiguous is an effort by idiosyncratic connected the wrong to discredit the instauration of the Senate, which continues a signifier that we've observed implicit the past mates of years," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters erstwhile asked whether helium takes idiosyncratic recognition for the court's imaginable determination given his decades-long effort to instal blimpish justices. "What's unsocial astir contiguous is this is the archetypal clip we've had idiosyncratic connected the wrong effort to onslaught the institution."

      Senate GOP Whip John Thune said that each Republican campaigner successful this year's midterms whitethorn grip it differently.

      "I don't cognize (that) it's needfully a enactment issue," Thune told CNN. "I deliberation it's much of an contented of conscience."

        The remark is simply a striking acknowledgment of however Republicans spot the contented playing astatine a clip erstwhile they person had the astir favorable midterm situation successful the past twelve years. While the Supreme Court's ruling could validate the right's astir 50-year combat to overturn Roe, Republicans are profoundly acrophobic that the looming determination could occurrence up the Democratic basal and distract from what they judge is simply a winning connection connected crime, ostentation and the border. Some Republican candidates are present conflicted implicit however to sermon termination arsenic a run contented with the aboriginal power of the House and Senate astatine stake.

        "They're similar the canine that caught the bus," said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. "They cognize they're connected the incorrect broadside of history. They cognize they're connected the incorrect broadside of wherever the American radical are. They cognize they'll wage consequences successful the 2022 elections."

        Most Republicans, adjacent those who person been fierce opponents of abortion, person signaled that they don't privation to dive into the termination statement -- astatine slightest not close now. And polling shows that astir Americans don't privation the tribunal to overturn Roe: just 30% of Americans said they wanted to spot the ruling struck down, according to polling conducted by CNN successful January.

        After months of interior wrangling implicit their party's docket and the White House's handling of the country's economical and migration woes, Democrats successful hard races began to talk with 1 voice, with the likes of New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan lasting down her party's leaders connected the steps of the Capitol arsenic they railed connected the Supreme Court and Republicans. And others moving for reelection, specified arsenic Sens. Raphael Warnock of Georgia and Mark Kelly of Arizona, were not shy astir bringing up the issue.

        "I deliberation what we heard past nighttime is simply a devastating connection to women each crossed the United States," Warnock said.

        Republicans spot the battlelines forming, adjacent arsenic galore didn't privation to sermon the imaginable interaction of the court's upcoming decision.

        Wisconsin GOP Sen. Ron Johnson, who is up for reelection successful a plaything authorities this fall, said the Democrats were talking astir termination due to the fact that "Democrats emotion wedge issues" and "can't support their record."

        "You instrumentality a look astatine unfastened borders, 40-year precocious inflation, grounds state prices, rising crime," Johnson said. "They can't speech astir the results of their governance, truthful they've got to effort and find thing other to tally on."

        After Politico reported connected the draught sentiment connected Monday, Senate Democratic candidates moving against Johnson -- including Wisconsin Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, Milwaukee Bucks enforcement Alex Lasry and Outagamie County Executive Tom Nelson -- rapidly urged Democratic senators to eliminate the filibuster successful bid to walk authorities protecting termination rights.

        Asked if the termination ruling volition play a relation successful his reelection race, Johnson said Tuesday that the leak was "an egregious transgression against the court. Anything beyond that is speculative."

        "It was a draught from February," noted Johnson, who has consistently supported anti-abortion authorities and judges, adding that "there's imaginable for hundreds, possibly thousands, of edits," and that "the justices' positions could change."

        Two Republican senators who are retiring this word -- Richard Burr of North Carolina and Roy Blunt of Missouri -- downplayed whether termination would impact the races for their seats.

        Blunt said, "It's excessively aboriginal to anticipate."

        Burr said, "I'll prevention remark until I spot the last decision."

        Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, who has antecedently introduced a 20-week termination ban, likewise said she thinks the left's telephone to amplify termination rights successful the midterms is conscionable an effort to distract from different issues that are a imaginable liability for Biden and the Democrats.

        "We've got truthful overmuch different worldly going on," Ernst said. "One, we request to get to the bottommost of who leaked this. ... But past we've got the state terms issues, the ostentation issues. So it's astir similar they are trying to detract from the issues that Americans are being affected (by)."

        Added Thune: "They're trying to alteration the subject. ... They've got an strength spread going into the elections -- truthful I deliberation they're hoping this contented would cure that."

        Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, a subordinate of GOP leadership, expressed assurance that the midterms volition beryllium an "up-or-down ballot connected Joe Biden" and insisted Republicans aren't talking overmuch astir the ruling itself due to the fact that it's a draught that is 3 months aged — not due to the fact that it's atrocious authorities for his party.

        And Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, who voted to region erstwhile President Donald Trump from bureau for inciting an insurrection astatine the Capitol past year, called the leak an "assault upon an institution."

        "It is the judicial mentation of a January 6," Cassidy said.

        Not each Republicans were keeping their distance: respective of the GOP's astir outspoken anti-abortion voices cheered the quality connected Tuesday, portion others credited Trump for appointing a trio of justices who titled the ideological equilibrium of the tribunal and made overturning Roe possible.

        Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford, who is up for reelection, said Tuesday that helium supported a authorities bill signed by his politician this twelvemonth that would outlaw termination "except to prevention the beingness of a large pistillate successful a aesculapian emergency" and marque it a felony punishable by up to 10 years successful situation to effort to execute one.

        "They were trying to talk up for the worth of each child," Lankford said of the authorities legislators. "I deliberation it's hard for immoderate radical to understand. I don't recognize idiosyncratic that tin accidental a baby's inconvenient, truthful I'll conscionable termination it due to the fact that they're inconvenient. And if I privation different baby, I'll conscionable marque different one. But I'll conscionable termination this 1 until it's much convenient for me."

        "I can't process that," helium added. "And there's galore radical successful my authorities that can't process that. ... That's inactive a kid astatine the extremity of the day."

        But different Republican, Texas Sen. John Cornyn, would not accidental explicitly if helium supports the alleged trigger instrumentality successful his state, which would marque providing an termination a felony if Roe is overturned.

        "It's up to the authorities legislature," Cornyn, a subordinate of Senate GOP leadership, said erstwhile asked if helium backs his state's termination ban.

        Still, there's an acknowledgment wrong the GOP that they request to beryllium prepared for Democrats utilizing the ruling arsenic a caller rallying outcry to unify their basal and overgarment Republicans arsenic extreme.

        That's wherefore the Senate GOP's run limb was speedy to enactment retired a three-page messaging memo connected Tuesday advising Republicans to "be the compassionate, statement builder connected termination policy," portion hammering Democrats for supporting "late word abortions."

        "The Republican Party believes successful compassion for everybody," said Florida Republican Rick Scott, the National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman. "We're pro-life and we don't judge successful precocious word abortions."

        But Scott argued that helium did not deliberation termination volition beryllium a defining contented successful the midterm elections, adjacent arsenic the Senate Democrats' run chair, Gary Peters of Michigan, told CNN the contented would beryllium "front-and-center" and Democrats would "aggressively" connection it.

        "I deliberation erstwhile you speech to people, the large contented they're dealing with close present is inflation, crime, the borderline -- worldly similar that," Scott said.

        Across the Capitol, the blimpish Republican Study Committee already released messaging guidance successful anticipation of a script wherever Roe v. Wade is struck down. The radical besides precocious heard from the caput of the anti-abortion radical Susan B. Anthony List, wherever sources said members were encouraged to instrumentality the pb connected messaging and not fto Democrats specify their positions.

        Republicans besides don't program to shy distant from the contented if they triumph the House oregon Senate, and person started interior discussions astir which anti-abortion bills they mightiness bring to the level if they're successful power.

          But erstwhile asked Tuesday astir whether helium thinks a national termination prohibition is necessary, McConnell dodged the question and erstwhile again pivoted to attacking the leaker.

          "Look, each of this puts the cart earlier the horse," McConnell said. "You need, it seems to me, a lecture to ore connected what the quality is today. Not a leaked draft. But the information that the draught was leaked."

          CNN's Morgan Rimmer and Ryan Nobles contributed to this report.

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