Monday on Fox News, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway admitted that her colleague White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders made an “unfortunate misstatement” about the number of immigrants stopped at the border with Mexico who are suspected terrorists.
On Fox News Sunday Sanders stood by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s claim that “special interest aliens” numbering in the thousands have been apprehended at the border.
“We know that, roughly, nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists come into our country illegally, and we know that our most vulnerable point of entry is at our southern border,” Sanders said, before being challenged by Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace.
On Monday, Fox News host Laura Ingraham noted that while the White House stated that about 4,000 terrorists were apprehended at the border, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported it encountered six immigrants with terrorist ties at the Mexico border in the first half of last year.
“It’s a much smaller threat than you described,” Ingraham said, referring to Sanders’ statement. “Doesn’t that hurt the credibility of the White House when we don’t get these basic facts right and someone’s not doing their homework in the way they described it?”
Conway said that the number, 3,755, did not refer to people at the southern border specifically, but rather included those stopped at international airports. Conway noted there were two other statistics that pertained to the border.
“It got unfortunately confused by my colleague,” Conway said of Sanders. “But the apprehensions at the border of gang members, of known criminals, these are all again … the media has this presentation if they want to be honest.”
Ingraham said that media “cherry picking” is common and “we all kind of make mistakes.”
“That was an unfortunate misstatement and everybody makes mistakes, all of us,” Conway continued on Sanders, then took the topic in a different direction.
“The fact is, it’s corrected here and anybody who turns a blind eye to the actual numbers of the human trafficking, the increase in the drugs,” Conway said. “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.”
Sanders had been criticized for making misstatements in the past. PolitiFact has fact-checked a half-dozen of the press secretary’s statements, rating one as “pants on fire!” four as “false,” and one as “mostly true.” The “pants on fire” statement was uttered by Sanders in October 2017.
“I think if you look to Chicago, where you had over 4,000 victims of gun-related crimes last year, they have the strictest gun laws in the country,” Sanders falsely said. “That certainly hasn’t helped there.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (2nd L) talks with Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway as they head to the weekly Senate Republican policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol May 15, 2018, in Washington, D.C. Conway said Sanders made an “unfortunate misstatement” about border wall apprehensions and terrorists. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
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