Fox & Friends host Ainsley Earhardt confronted White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Wednesday about why she had recently mischaracterized the number of known or suspected terrorists apprehended by border officials in 2018.
Sanders was fact-checked by “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace on Sunday after she claimed that “nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists come into our country illegally” through the southern border – in an attempt to claim that there is a crisis at the border and justify the need for a border wall. Wallace noted that the government’s own figures show that there haven’t been any terrorists found coming across the border and that most were captured at airports in fiscal 2017.
“Why the inflated figure?” Ainsley Earhardt asked Sanders Wednesday morning.
“I should have said 4,000 at all points of entry, not just at the southern border,” Sanders responded. “The bottom line is whether it’s one, four, fourteen or four thousand, one terrorists coming into our country in illegal fashion to do us harm one too many, and we have to take every step possible to prevent that from happening, including protecting our most vulnerable points of entry, and we know that to be the southern border. We have to do what is necessary to protect our border, to protect the people, and that’s exactly what President Trump has done, and that’s exactly what he laid out in his speech last night.”
FOX & FRIENDS: Sarah, why did you dramatically inflate the number of people on watchlists who were detained by Border Patrol?@PressSec: “The bottom line is whether it’s one, 4, 14 or 4,000, one terrorist coming into our country in illegal fashion to do us harm one too many.” pic.twitter.com/x3HrdANppq
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 9, 2019
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway downplayed the Trump administration’s deliberate lies about the number of terror suspects apprehended at the southern border as “an unfortunate misstatement.”
“It got unfortunately conflated by a colleague,” Conway said about Sanders’ lie.
“That was an unfortunate misstatement and everybody makes mistakes, all of us,” Conway said. “The fact is, it’s corrected here and anybody who turns a blind eye to the actual numbers of human trafficking, the increase in the drugs, we are concerned about your children here in the United States not being subject to all these drugs and we’re concerned about their children.”
Other Trump administration officials, including the president, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and Vice President Mike Pence, have in recent months stated that thousands of terrorists attempt to enter the country through our southern border.
In the first half of 2018, Customs and Border Protection stopped a total of six immigrants at the southern border who are now in the terrorism database, according to NBC News.