Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, the newest candidate in the Republican presidential field, drew some distinctions between himself and his rivals Thursday, suggesting that the six-week abortion ban signed into law by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is too severe.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Suarez expressed support for a 15-week federal abortion ban, saying the country “is not there yet” on six weeks.
When it comes to abortion, Suarez indicated to the AP that the limits in the new law in Florida and other states are much stricter than what he would support as president.
“Look, I think that the country is not there yet,” he said of the six-week ban, which is before many women know they are pregnant.
He said he would back a 15-week federal abortion ban with rare exceptions, in line with a plan proposed by GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina last year that more moderate Republicans tried to distance themselves from before the midterm elections.
“We are in a situation where 70% of the country agrees with a limitation of 15 weeks where there is an exception for the life of the mother and an exception for rape and incest, and I think that is a position that will save a tremendous amount of babies,” Suarez said. “If there was that kind of federal law, that’s one that I would support as president.”
The six-week abortion ban in Florida will take effect if the state’s current 15-week ban is upheld in an ongoing legal challenge that is before the state Supreme Court, which is controlled by conservatives.
He also said his status as the only Hispanic candidate in the GOP race gives him “a lot of credibility” in a conversation about reforming immigration laws, though he was vague about what he’d propose.
“I do think that we need to right-size legal immigration and that it should be connected to our employment rate and our declining birth rate,” said Suarez, who has Cuban ancestry. “And I do think we have to do something with those who are undocumented in our country.”
Suarez, 45, made his candidacy official Wednesday by filing paperwork with the Federal Election Commission. He announced his run Thursday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” evading questions about the GOP primary front-runner, former President Donald Trump, who appeared in federal court in Suarez’s city two days ago on charges he illegally hoarded classified documents and refused government demands to give them back.
He is the third Florida resident to launch a 2024 bid for the White House, but the race so far is largely seen as a contest between the two other candidates in his state: Trump and DeSantis. Suarez has said he did not vote for Trump for president in 2016 or 2020 or for DeSantis for governor in 2018, though he did end up backing him in 2022.
Published with permission of The Associated Press.