Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) on Monday night pushed back against House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s (R-CA) doomsday portrayal of the new arrivals at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Weird as the Chairman of the subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations and a border state member of Congress [I] haven’t heard anything about this,” Gallego tweeted with a clip of McCarthy claiming there were potential terrorists trying to enter the country. “Gonna ask for a briefing. Pretty sure he is either wrong or lying.”
During House Republicans’ visit to the border on Monday, McCarthy claimed that agents at the border are finding “people on the terrorist watch list” from Yemen, Iran, and Turkey who are “rushing in all at once.”
The GOP leader did not offer evidence of those alleged border crossings. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) did not respond to TPM’s request for confirmation of McCarthy’s claims at the time of writing.
Republicans have recently turned to fear-mongering about President Joe Biden’s immigration policies after voting unanimously against his sweeping COVID-19 relief package in both chambers last week. Eager to distract from the fact that they had tried to kill legislation that enjoyed widespread support among Americans in the polls, GOP lawmakers are busting out the cultural grievance playbook to find a point of attack against the President.
However, the GOP’s usual handwringing over migrant “caravans” has taken on a new flavor amid COVID-19. Now Republicans are expressing concern over “super-spreader” caravans despite largely downplaying the pandemic and ignoring health officials’ guidelines on masks and large gatherings over the past year.
Right-wing media allies at Fox News have readily amplified the GOP’s latest talking point:
"Biden's Border Crisis" is the branding on Fox's "straight news" programming. pic.twitter.com/ah3ycR7VPg
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) March 15, 2021