You always miss these things, it runs counter to your belief.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on Sunday repeated a false claim put forth by her and other Trump administration officials about the number of suspected terrorists apprehended at the southern border, one that is contradicted by the administration's own data on the topic.
Sanders appeared on "Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace and was asked about comments made by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen last week. Nielsen said Customs and Border Protection "has stopped over 3,000 what we call 'special-interest aliens' trying to come into the country in the southern border. Those are aliens who the intel community has identified are of concern."
Wallace pointed out that special-interest aliens are those hailing from "countries that have ever produced a terrorist. They're not terrorists themselves." Wallace cited a State Department report stating there is "no credible evidence" of terrorists crossing the border with Mexico.
Sanders responded by connecting the issue of terrorism with the fight over border security.
"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. In an appearance on "Fox and Friends" on Friday, Sanders falsely said last year there were "nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists that CPB picked up that came across our southern border."
Wallace interjected on Sunday, saying he had "studied up" on the statistic.
"Do you know where those 4,000 people come [from], where they're captured? Airports," Wallace said.
"I'm saying that they come by air, by land and by sea," Sanders replied. "I'm not disagreeing with you that they're coming through airports."
According to statistics from the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security, 2,554 people on the FBI's terrorist screening list were stopped trying to enter the U.S. in fiscal year 2017, the most recent year for which data is available. The majority — 2,170 — were attempting to enter through airports, and 49 were attempting to enter by sea.
The report found 335 were attempting to enter by land. The State Department said in September it had no indication that any terrorists had tried entering the U.S. through Mexico.
"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," the State Department report said. "Terrorist groups likely seek other means of trying to enter the United States."
The claim that the southern border is vulnerable to terrorists has been repeated by top Trump officials for months. Vice President Mike Pence told the Washington Post in October the U.S. apprehended more than 10 terrorists or suspected terrorists per day at the southern border in the last fiscal year.
And President Trump repeated the claim of a terrorist threat in a Rose Garden press conference Friday.
"The border is a much more dangerous problem. It's a problem of national security. It's a problem of terrorists," Mr. Trump said. "They find it's the easiest place to come through. They drive right in and make a left. It's not going to happen."
Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity represent two types of President Trump supporters.
The Coulter faction's principal loyalty is to the ideas Trump embodied during the campaign.
The Hannity group's primary allegiance is to Trump himself.
The split has always been there, but now it is widening as Coulter and those in her camp grow impatient for Trump to make good on his promises, and become frustrated by the Hannity bloc's lack of interest in holding the president accountable.
Tensions erupted on Wednesday when Coulter ripped Hannity for editing an interview that aired on his Fox News show last Thursday in which Coulter criticized Trump's inclusion of Goldman Sachs alumni such as chief economic adviser Gary Cohn in his administration. Here's some of what Coulter wrote in a column published by Breitbart News.
Sean Hannity, bless his heart, has the zeal of the late Trump convert. He would endorse communism if Trump decided to implement the policies of “The Communist Manifesto.” (Which the GOP’s health care bill actually does!)
On his show last Thursday, he tried to get me to defend Trump’s “rich person” remarks about Cohn. I wish you could see the segment, but, unfortunately, Hannity decided no one would ever see it — NOT, I hasten to add, because he would ever censor criticism of Trump, but simply because he ran out of time.
In a pretaped interview. It was a time problem. (It may not be evident to most viewers, but three minutes MUST be left at the end of every Hannity show for Nerf ball throwing.)
With the zealotry of those who came late to the Trump party, Hannity fully endorsed Trump’s faith in Cohn, adding, “I never got a job from a poor man!”
Those of us who have been here for a while — unlike Cruz- and Rubio-supporting Hannity — know how to party responsibly. The best way we serve the people we admire is to tell them the truth. (Someday, no doubt, Nancy Pelosi will wish she had been surrounded by fewer Yes Men.)
The motto of we longtime Trump supporters is: NO TREATS FOR DOING NOTHING!
Hannity, who called Coulter a “friend” and said “we love having you on” during the part of the interview that made air last week, quickly returned fire on Twitter.
Ann, u fall in and out of love with Christie Romney Trump and how many others. Frankly you just bore me.
— Sean Hannity (@seanhannity) June 28, 2017
Hannity added that he was “not late” to what Coulter called the “Trump party.” “Late” is a subjective term, but recall that Hannity strongly protested Ted Cruz's accusation, during the Republican presidential primary, that Hannity favored Trump over the rest of the GOP field.
Hannity did not formally endorse Trump until the billionaire was the last Republican standing. He wanted to be seen as neutral while the race was in progress, but now he wants to be seen as a longtime Trump backer.
Anyway, the nature of Trump support — not the duration — is at the heart of this feud. Coulter might not be ready to jump off the Trump Train, but she has publicly vented her dismay at the president's lack of progress on his populist, nationalist agenda.
Meanwhile, Hannity seems to value Trump's personal qualities so highly that he is not bothered by the absence of funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, the presence of Wall Street bankers in high-ranking jobs or the details of a GOP health-care plan that does not amount to a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
Unless Trump starts delivering more of what he pledged on the campaign trail, the segments of his base that supported him for different reasons — represented by Coulter and Hannity — are likely to drift further apart.