WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton pounced on Donald Trump’s comment Wednesday on MSNBC that abortion should be banned and women who receive one should should face “some form of punishment,” seeking to tie it the entire GOP field.
Hours later, Trump reversed his initial position — criticized as extreme by both supporters and opponents of abortion rights — saying only the doctors should be held liable.
“The Republicans all line up together,” Clinton said in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
“Now maybe they aren’t quite as open about it as Donald Trump was earlier today, but they all have the same position,” she said, noting anti-abortion positions taken by both John Kasich and Ted Cruz. “If you make abortion a crime — you make it illegal — then you make women and doctors criminals.”
“Why is it, I ask myself, Republicans want limited government, except when it comes to women’s health?” she said.
Many Trump’s critics have sought to paint him as hostile to women, and Clinton said she largely agreed with that assessment.
Trump came under heavy fire on Tuesday when his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was charged with simple battery on a female reporter.
“(Trump’s) been inciting aggressive behavior. He’s been applauding violence,” Clinton told Cooper. “You go through the last month, and there’s just a lot of evidence that his behavior has been inciting violence.”
But as eager as she may be to tangle with Trump, Clinton on Wednesday maintained that she is not overlooking the threat posed by Bernie Sanders, her Democratic opponent. Sanders led Clinton in a Wisconsin poll released earlier on Wednesday, where voters weigh in on April 5.
“I’m going to keep focused on the primary. I’m going to go after every vote in every contest that I can possibly earn,” she said. “But I also think it’s important not to stay silent when Republican candidates say some of the offensive and dangerous things they been talking about.”
And Clinton brushed off concerns about Wisconsin, where she will return this weekend to campaign, even as she indicated she would continue to battle fiercely with her Democratic rival.
“We’ve got a lot of contests ahead of us,” she said, pledging to continue to contrast herself with Sanders. “I’m going to do everything I can to draw the contrast between me and Sen. Sanders.”