Trump accuses Dem gubernatorial candidate of 'fighting for' MS-13 gang
President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE waded into the Virginia gubernatorial race in a tweet Thursday night, accusing Democratic candidate Ralph Northam of “fighting for” the MS-13 gang.
“Ralph Northam, who is running for Governor of Virginia, is fighting for the violent MS-13 killer gangs & sanctuary cities,” Trump tweeted. “Vote Ed Gillespie!”
Ralph Northam,who is running for Governor of Virginia,is fighting for the violent MS-13 killer gangs & sanctuary cities. Vote Ed Gillespie!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 5, 2017
Northam’s campaign fired back at Trump in a statement blasting his GOP opponent Ed Gillespie.
“They both want to cut funding to education, roll back healthcare and divide Virginians for political gains. Looks like Ed Gillespie’s ads are reaching his target audience — Donald Trump,” Northam campaign spokesperson David Turner told The Hill.
Gillespie began running ads in September that attempted to tie Northam to MS-13 gang violence by attacking his support for so-called sanctuary cities, according to The Washington Post.
Gillespie faced criticism after one of the ads showed images of Northam alongside purported MS-13 members. The men pictured weren’t MS-13 members, however, but were prisoners in El Salvador.
Trump’s tweet Thursday invoking the gang that his administration has sought to crackdown on comes after the release of a Washington Post-Schar School poll that found Northam with a 13-point lead over Gillespie in a three-way race.
Fifty-three percent of likely voters said they would support Northam in a race between him, Gillespie and Libertarian candidate Cliff Hyra in a poll conducted ahead of next month’s election.
That poll also found that 60 percent of registered voters disapproved of Trump’s job in office.
A poll conducted in September found that almost half of voters said Trump will play a role in their choice between Gillespie and Northam in November.
Updated: 11:13 p.m.