NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Donald Trump has been talking to Republican Party leaders and saying he is “looking forward” to unity in the party.
As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, the meeting at GOP headquarters in Washington, D.C., came after Trump reversed his pledge to support any Republican nominee if it is not himself.
Sources said the meeting was about convention rules and delegates.
Meanwhile, presidential hopefuls have been focused on New York, aggressively courting voters ahead of the April 19 primary.
A new poll may have Ohio Gov. John Kasich trailing Queens native and Manhattan businessman Trump in New York. But Kasich has refused to concede the field.
“Donald Trump is clearly not prepared to be president of the United States,” Kasich said. “As commander in chief and leader of the free world, you don’t get do-overs.”
Kasich carried a list of five things he said Trump has bobbled. Among them is Trump saying one thing, and then backtracking, about abortion and who should suffer punishment for it if it became illegal.
Indeed, Trump has been fighting backlash from all sides since his discussion of the subject with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews on Wednesday.
Trump had said during the town hall taping Wednesday that women who get abortions should receive “some form of punishment” if abortion is banned.
“The answer is there has to be some form of punishment,” Trump said, calling abortion a “very serious problem.”
When host Chris Matthews asked Trump if women should be jailed, he responded, “I don’t know. That, I don’t know,” adding that it is a “very complicated position.”
The billionaire, who said he is pro-life, was not able to explain how he would ban abortions as president.
“You know, you’ll go back to a position like they had where people perhaps will go to illegal places,” Trump said. “But you have to ban it.”
The criticism of Trump’s comments came fast and furious from both sides of the debate, prompting Trump to release two statements clarifying his position.
“If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman,” he said, adding, “The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb.”
Trump spoke further about the controversy in an interview with Fox News Channel’s “The O’Reilly Factor” set to air Thursday night, Trump blames the flub on a “convoluted” interview.
“This was a long, convoluted question,” he says. “This was a long discussion and they just cut it out.”
Trump acknowledges that, “It could be that I misspoke” but insists he’s always believed abortion providers, not women, should be held responsible for performing illegal abortion
But for many, the damage was done on Thursday.
Abortion rights supporters held what they called “an emergency call to action” rally Thursday afternoon at Columbus Circle.
Meanwhile, Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney called Trump’s comments “reckless” and said his stance on abortion is “straight out of the Middle Ages.”
“Mr. Trump’s statement that women should be punished for terminating their pregnancy was not just outrageous, it was inflammatory, irresponsible and insulting to every woman in the United States,” Maloney told 1010 WINS.
She said Trump “owes the people of this nation a full apology.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, also weighed in, saying on Twitter: “Who should be punished? People who seek to make the lives of vulnerable women harder. Our bodies are not up for debate
Fellow conservatives and other pro-lifers also criticized Trump for his comments.
“It’s the latest demonstration of how little Donald has thought about any of the serious issues facing this country,” said rival Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas.
A new Quinnipiac University poll taken before Trump’s abortion comments had Trump at 56 percent, Cruz at 20 percent and Kasich at 19 percent in New York.
Kramer asked Kasich what he would say to New Yorkers to convince them to go for him and not for hometown boy Trump.
Kasich replied that he’s been independent and anti-establishment his entire political career, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.
“I am with the Trump people. They just don’t know me,” Kasich said. “But what’s happening now is people are starting to get more of a sense of who I am.”
(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)