There are a lot of things at stake in the upcoming midterm election: The future of investigations into Russian interference in our electoral politics, the tone and tenor of government for the next two years, and frankly, a lot of people believe that the very soul of the nation is on the line — should the Republicans retain control of both houses of Congress, their grift and cruelty could continue unabated.
It’s only in Republican circles where whatever happens with the caravan of migrants traveling north right now through Central America and Mexico seems to be the most important thing in the country. The GOP would have you believe that this caravan is carrying the very future of America with it, and the blatant racism and white nationalism inherent in their arguments as to what we should do about it are staggering. Just the other day I watched a video clip of the occasionally moderate Geraldo Rivera arguing with Sean Hannity and perhaps the closest thing to an actual Nazi that has ever worked in the West Wing, Sebastian Gorka, asking them, “What are you going to do? Shoot them?”
But Fox News pundits and washed out White House aides are one thing. When our actual elected officials start using false statistics, misleading phrases, and speculation calculated to rile up Republican voters against not just Democrats but all people of color, we have a problem.
That’s just what Vice President Mike Pence has been doing, however, and it’s horrifying.
Donald Trump has been making claims about the migrant caravan for days that sound just like every other Trump claim: Completely made up. It’s ludicrous to think that Trump knows anything about the people traveling in the caravan, let alone that there are “Middle Easterners” (used interchangeably by Trump with “terrorists”) traveling inside it, and yet he did claim that, and it suddenly became everyone else in the administration’s job to back him up.
Pence did his best, but unfortunately, his best included straight-up lying. Calling it “inconceivable” that there would not be people from the Middle East in the caravan of more than 7,000 people — which would already be called clickbait if it came from us — Pence cited statistics that are just plain false:
In the last fiscal year we apprehended more than 10 terrorists or suspected terrorists per day at our southern border from countries that are referred to in the lexicon as ‘other than Mexico’ ― that means from the Middle East region.”
Uh, no it doesn’t, Mike. It literally means anywhere on the planet other than Mexico. But what’s worse about the statement is that the number, “more than 10,” that the administration so often cites, actually represents how many suspected terrorists the US stops from entering the country altogether — southern border, northern border, by airplane, by boat — not just apprehensions from Mexico.
Pence can thank Trump’s own Department of Justice for making him look like a liar, too. The statistic comes from total apprehensions in 2017 and doesn’t even actually work out to 10 per day. The DOJ detailed 2,554 apprehensions in FY2017, which is actually closer to about 7 per day — and the vast majority, 2,170 of them, came by air.
So let’s dispense with all this nonsense about the caravan. There is no proof from anyone that there are “Middle Easterners” traveling with it, and besides, being from the Middle East doesn’t make you a terrorist.
America wasn’t having it with his nonsense:
First of all, the “caravan” is 1000 miles away. Second, isn’t it odd that thousands of people decided to come here right before the midterms? Third, what are you talking about??
— Gloria Miele, Ph.D. (@GloriaMiele) October 23, 2018
You are trying to create hysteria. This is very purposeful and not what Jesus would do.
— Jane Phoenix (@JanePhoenix6) October 23, 2018
— Scott (@Sand_Manx) October 23, 2018
— TraitorTrump (@TheRealKnoxBob) October 23, 2018
Desperate much pency???? pic.twitter.com/IcfTQStouy
— Alexis Bobbie Gouzou (@AlexisBobbie) October 23, 2018
Featured image via screen capture