Donald Trump took a beating during (and after) his Oval Office photo op with incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) Tuesday afternoon, but so did the truth. Trump claimed “We caught 10 terrorists over the last very short period of time,” but his own Department of Homeland Security (DHS) couldn’t back up that lie.
As Trump sparred with Pelosi and Schumer over border security, he insisted that “People are pouring into our country, including terrorists. We have terrorists. We caught 10 terrorists over the last very short period of time. Ten. These are very serious people. Our border agents, all of our law enforcement has been incredible what they’ve done. But we caught 10 terrorists. These are people that were looking to do harm.”
That thrice-repeated claim was self-evidently suspect, given the fact that such an apprehension would undoubtedly have made national news, or at least some kind of DHS press release. As it turns out, DHS couldn’t back Trump up either, as The Daily Beast‘s Erin Banco reports:
Instead, DHS would only say that it apprehended, on average, ten “known or suspect[ed] terrorists” per day who attempted to enter the country “by air, sea, or land” from October 2017 through September 2018.
Just to be clear, that’s an average of ten “known or suspected” terrorists, not terrorists, who tried to enter the country anywhere by any means, not at the southern border.
In fact, according to the most recent reporting from Trump’s State Department, released in September, the number of terrorists entering the United States via Mexico is a whopping zero per ever (emphasis added):
At year’s end there was no credible evidence indicating that international terrorist groups have established bases in Mexico, worked with Mexican drug cartels, or sent operatives via Mexico into the United States.
While the report claims, in the face of that evidence, that the border is still vulnerable, it also notes that “terrorist groups likely seek other means of trying to enter the United States.”
Missed it by that much.
Watch the clip above, via CNN.
[image via screengrab]
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