Michigan Republican Tudor Dixon says that former President Donald Trump advised her to soften her message on abortion during her failed gubernatorial bid last year, but that her campaign “could not pivot in time.”
“You came to me and you said, ‘You got to talk differently about abortion.’ And we could not pivot, we could not pivot in time,” she said during an interview with Trump on her podcast, which aired Tuesday.
Dixon, a conservative media personality who has not held public office, was bolstered by Trump’s endorsement in her efforts to unseat incumbent Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in the swing state.
The race was dominated by abortion rights following the overturning of Roe v. Wade, as voters simultaneously weighed a ballot measure that would enshrine abortion rights into the Michigan Constitution. During her campaign, Dixon, who described herself as “pro-life,” came under fire for failing to say whether she would allow abortions for rape victims.
Ultimately, voters in the state backed both the ballot measure and Whitmer, who framed abortion access as a key element of her campaign.
Dixon acknowledged the role abortion played in her defeat during an interview Sunday on FOX News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” and warned of the impact it could have again in 20204.
“In my own election, the big issue was abortion. Abortion is still out there. We have already seen Joe Biden put an attack ad out just after the debate on abortion once again,” Dixon said in the interview. “I had $50 million in attack ads against me on abortion. So we have got to get that message correct, and we have got to be able to speak to suburban women.”
Dixon told Trump on her podcast: “You were absolutely right, sir, and I hope that you are able to navigate that issue in ’24 and that we can win those women back. They are already putting out attack ads, and it is not a fair issue for them to attack on.”
Trump agreed, noting that criticism over abortion policies “didn’t happen to me, because there’s a way of talking about it.”
“Exceptions are very important. I think you need the exceptions,” said Trump, who has not committed to backing a national abortion ban.