Donald Trump is coming under fire after claiming that Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is in support of “executing babies after birth,” a claim about the Democrat’s support of abortion that the president has been fact-checked on in the past.
The president took to Twitter on Friday as early voting started in Virginia. He delivered a message expressing confidence in his chances of winning the swing state, and shifted to an attack on Northam by claiming that the Democratic governor plans to confiscate guns and supports the killing of infants after they are born.
“Voting starts in Virginia TODAY, and we are going to WIN. You have a crazy Governor who wants to take away your guns, which he will do without me in office. He is in favor of executing babies after birth – this isn’t late-term abortion, this is a step way beyond!” Trump wrote.
The statement quickly drew viral interest, with the phrase “executing” shooting to the top of Twitter’s trends. Many took to the social media site to rebuke Trump and say that his claim holds no truth. Others pointed out that Trump’s own record is spotty, pointing to his policy of separating migrant children from their parents after crossing the U.S. border and putting them in detention centers.
“Northam does not advocate for child murder,” replied songwriter and political activist Holly Figueroa O’Reilly on Twitter, noting that it is considered murder in every state to kill an infant after being born alive. “That’s you. Killing immigrant children at the border. 6 Children Died in Border Patrol Care.”
Trump has previously made claims that Democrats support killing newborns after birth, earning him past rebukes. USA Today offered a fact check after the president made similar statements last year, noting that the attack made at several of his campaign rallies was misleading. At the time, Trump told crowds of supporters that doctors executed infants that had survived failed abortion attempts.
The report noted that Trump had twisted this claim.
“It’s already a crime to kill babies, but not necessarily a crime to forgo sophisticated medical intervention in cases where severe fetal abnormalities leave a newborn with no chance of survival,” USA Today reported, noting that data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that between 2003 and 2014, there were 143 recorded deaths of infants born alive during an attempted abortion.
Trump’s attack on Northam comes amid what is expected to be a close race in Virginia, which he lost narrowly in the 2016 election.