Kamala Harris accuses Donald Trump of ‘gaslighting’ America on abortion during Arizona visit

Kamala Harris accuses Donald Trump of ‘gaslighting’ America on abortion during Arizona visit

Kamala Harris used a speech in Arizona to accuse Donald Trump of trying to take women’s rights “back to the 1800s” and “gaslighting” America over his abortion views, arguing the former president denied his role in setting the stage for the state this week to uphold a near-total abortion ban.

“What has happened here in Arizona is a new inflexion point,” Vice-President Harris said during a Friday speech, suggesting that Donald Trump’s support for abortion restrictions and appointment of conservative justices to the Supreme Court, who later struck down Roe v Wade, were key tipping points leading to the Arizona Supreme Court’s decision to uphold an 1800s-era abortion ban with no exceptions for rape or incest.

“It has demonstrated once and for all that overturning Roe was just the opening act of a larger strategy to take women’s rights and freedoms, part of a full-on attack, state-by-state, on reproductive freedom. And we all must understand who is to blame: former president Donald Trump did this,” Ms Harris said.

The Biden administration official warned the crowd that a second Trump term could mean a nationwide abortion ban, despite the former president’s recent assurances he wouldn’t sign such a bill into law.

“Now Trump wants us to believe he will not sign a national ban,” Ms Harris added at the event. “Enough with the gaslighting. We all know if Donald Trump gets the chance, he will sign a national abortion ban.”

The Arizona visit is the latest in a string of trips from the vice president to key swing states like Wisconsin, Arizona, Michigan, and Georgia, all of which the Biden campaign carried on narrow margins in 2020.

In March, during a trip to Minnesota, Ms Harris became the first president or vice president to visit an abortion clinic.

The Biden administration has sought to link Donald Trump and a second Trump turn to the wave of abortion restrictions being put into place post-Roe.

Mr Trump, for his part, has offered mixed messages about abortion since the Arizona ruling, a decision so hardline many Republicans are refusing to stand by it, despite many of them pushing to restrict access to the procedure.

This Wednesday the former president, on the way to a fundraiser in Atlanta, told reporters he wouldn’t sign a national abortion ban and called on Arizona lawmakers to bring the state’s abortion policies back into the realm of “reason.”

“It’ll be straightened out and as you know, it’s all about states’ rights,” Mr Trump said. “It’ll be straightened out, and I’m sure that the governor and everybody else are going to bring it back into reason and that’ll be taken care of, I think, very quickly.”

However, earlier this week, in a video posted on Truth Social, Mr Trump also said he was “proudly the person responsible” for the 2022 demise of Roe. This Supreme Court precedent established a constitutional right to an abortion.

During his time in office, Mr Trump said he would sign a House-backed abortion ban that would outlaw the procedure after 20 weeks, but the bill never made it to his desk.

In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling to abolish Roe, at least 21 states ban or restrict abortion earlier in pregnancy than the standard set in the landmark case, according to data from The New York Times.