By Julia Zorthian
March 31, 2016

Donald Trump’s allies defended him on Wednesday after the Republican frontrunner walked back his comments about women deserving “some form of punishment” for undergoing abortions.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told WKXW New Jersey that Trump “obviously misspoke” about punishing women for abortion, and the Trump campaign statement released later on Wednesday — that physicians should receive any punishment for performing abortions if they were made illegal — is correct.

“Well listen, I think everybody in public life misspeaks,” Christie said. “My point is that he’s no different than everybody else running. When you have a microphone in front of you, you know, a lot of times a day, every day, there are going to be times when you’re going to misspeak.”

Ben Carson, a surgeon, also chalked the former television show host’s initial comments up to inexperience with the media.

“Bear in mind, I don’t believe that he was warned that that question was coming, and I don’t think he really had a chance to really think about it,” Carson told CNN Wednesday.”That happens very frequently, and you know, what you develop with experience is how to answer that in a way that is not definitive.”

Political commentator Ann Coulter, who took issue with Trump retweeting a photo of Heidi Cruz last week, tweeted in the candidate’s defense overnight.

Write to Julia Zorthian at julia.zorthian@time.com.

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