Appearing on all the major networks’ morning shows on Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence had a message for doubters about Donald Trump’s many various conflicting statements on the proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico: Nobody cares if he twists the truth about the need for it.
That’s offensively ridiculous, and yet Pence repeatedly dodged questions about how the American people are expected to believe the President when he says there is a “crisis” at the border. After all, if Trump says he would continue the government shutdown over the wall for “months, even years” as he has said, then clearly it’s not a pressing issue.
The painting of the issue as a “humanitarian crisis” and a matter of national security is just the latest effort by the White House to portray the need for the wall as imperative. Unfortunately for that messaging, the numbers simply don’t support it: Fewer immigrants are crossing the border than ever, and the vast majority of them are seeking asylum, which is legal no matter where they cross.
The administration’s lies about catching terrorists at the border have become transparent; after Sarah Sanders claimed that DHS had caught 4,000 of them at our southern border, NBC News obtained Customs and Border Protection data that showed that just six individuals whose names matched those on a terrorist watch list had been detained at the border in the first half of last year, the period for which data was available.
Directing Pence to this fact, ABC’s Jon Karl asked him, “How can the American people trust the president when he says this is a crisis when he says things over and over again that aren’t true?” The Vice President’s answer was to call the discrepancy “political” and say that people just don’t care:
Well, look, the American people aren’t as concerned about the political debate as they are concerned about what’s really happening at the border.”
But while he simply dodged on some questions, Pence repeated Trump’s talking points on others: He reiterated the debunked myth that somehow the newly-signed version of NAFTA was somehow structured to make Mexico pay for the wall — ignoring entirely that the deal hasn’t even been approved by Congress, and that even if it had, that particular claim has already been fact-checked and found false.
When it came to Trump’s bizarre claim that previous presidents had privately lamented to him that they hadn’t built a wall during their own administrations, a statement we addressed here at DC Tribune, Pence outright claimed that it wasn’t what the President had said:
I know the president said that was his impression from previous administrations, previous presidents.”
No, Mike. That’s not what he said at all.
Featured image via screen capture