The claim: Image shows Donald Trump statement calling Alec Baldwin a 'total loser'
An image claiming to show a statement from former President Donald Trump criticizing actor Alec Baldwin has gained traction across social media platforms.
"A great President – me – once said 'I could shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose any voters,'" reads the purported statement, shared Oct. 27 on Instagram.
The text continues: "Now Alec Baldwin, a total loser, has taken his impression of me to a new low by testing out this theory. Alec, you aren't me! Now you're going to prison, as you should have because of that awful, terrible job you did on SNL – which I have hosted."
On Oct. 21, Baldwin discharged a prop gun on the set of the movie "Rust" near Santa Fe, New Mexico, accidentally killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza. Baldwin tweeted the next day that he was "fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred."
While Trump did say he could "shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters," the image in the post does not show a real statement. A Trump spokesperson has debunked the claim.
USA TODAY reached out to the Instagram user who shared the post for comment.
Trump spokesperson debunks statement
Trump, who remains banned on Twitter and Facebook, has been publishing statements on his website for months. They are often shared on Twitter by Liz Harrington, a spokesperson for Trump, and Margo Martin, his deputy director of communications.
Neither of them posted the statement shown in the Instagram post.
Martin and Harrington didn't immediately reply to USA TODAY's request for comment. But Martin told Check Your Fact, an independent fact-checking organization, the image "is not a real press release."
Our rating: Altered
Based on our research, we rate ALTERED an image purporting to show a statement by Trump calling Baldwin a "total loser." Trump's deputy director of communications has said the statement is not a real press release. There's no record of the purported statement on Trump's website.
Our fact-check sources:
Being Classically Liberal, Oct. 28, Facebook post
Ingenuous Firebrand, Oct. 27, Tweet
USA TODAY, Oct. 27, Moment by moment details of how fatal 'Rust' movie set shooting unfolded
Alec Baldwin, Oct. 22, Tweet
CNN, Jan. 24, 2016, Trump: I could 'shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters'
BBC, May 5, Trump launches new 'communications' platform
Donald Trump, accessed Oct. 30, Website
Liz Harrington, accessed Oct. 30, Twitter profile
Margo Martin, accessed Oct. 30, Twitter profile
Check Your Fact, Oct. 29, Fact check: Did Donald Trump put out this statement about Alec Baldwin?
Donald Trump, accessed Oct. 30, Archived "News" website
Donald Trump, Oct. 27, Statement (wealth tax)
Donald Trump, Oct. 27, Statement (Arlington, VA)
Donald Trump, Oct. 27, Statement (gas prices)
Donald Trump, Oct. 27, Statement (immigration)
Donald Trump, Oct. 27, Statement (Vito Fossella)
Associated Press, Oct. 29, Ex-Rep. Vito Fossella makes post-scandal comeback bid in NYC
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Trump didn't call Alec Baldwin 'total loser' in statement