An exam room at the Whole Woman's Health clinic, in McAllen, Texas on March 4, 2014.
Photo by Jennifer Whitney/The New York Times/Redux

Trump’s lies about abortion take an alarming and incendiary turn

Donald Trump held his latest campaign rally in Green Bay on Saturday night, and as he’s done on several recent occasions, the president focused attention on abortion rights. In this case, the Republican described a very specific scenario:

“The baby is born. The mother meets with the doctor. They take care of the baby. They wrap the baby beautifully. And then the doctor and the mother determine whether or not they will execute the baby.”

The audience, on cue, expressed its disapproval of such conditions, booing loudly, as if their president had told them a gruesome truth.

He hadn’t. In fact, the scenario Trump depicted was ridiculously false. The New York Times published a detailed, albeit understated, fact-check piece, but the bottom line remains the same: there are no instances in which a healthy baby is born, only to be murdered soon after following a chat between a woman and her doctor.

If the White House can point to a single instance in which this has ever happened, anywhere in the United States, officials should feel free to present such an example to the public.

They won’t, because they can’t.

The problem in this case, however, isn’t limited to the obvious fact that the president lied – an alarmingly common occurrence – but rather, it’s the nature of this specific lie that stands out.

In an era in which domestic terrorism is an increasingly deadly societal scourge, it’s dangerous when a sitting American president lies to rabid followers with tales of infants being executed in medical facilities.

Complicating matters, Saturday night was an extreme example, but it was hardly the first example of Team Trump using incendiary rhetoric of late on the issue of reproductive rights.

As regular readers know, it was early last month when House Democrats launched an expansive investigation into presidential abuses, prompting White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to release an official press statement accusing Dems of trying to “distract” the public from the party’s agenda – which she said includes “killing babies after they’re born.”

Soon after, the president’s chief spokesperson went a little further. Asked about the virtues of possibly lowering the rhetorical temperature in D.C., the president’s chief spokesperson decided to do the opposite.

“Look, I think that the real shame in all of this is that Democrats are perfectly capable of coming together and agreeing on the fact that they’re comfortable ripping babies straight from a mother’s womb or killing a baby after birth,” Sanders said.

The use of the word “comfortable” was of particular interest – as if Democrats agree with the White House press secretary’s incendiary and false rhetoric.

No good can come of this.