Senior White House adviser Stephen Miller claimed Wednesday, without evidence, that a Biden administration would “incentivize child smuggling and child trafficking on an epic, global scale.”
He made the inflammatory accusations “in his personal capacity as a campaign adviser” on a Trump campaign call with reporters.
“Joe Biden would be the best friend that child smugglers and child traffickers have ever had in the White House,” he said, adding later: “My God, if Joe Biden were to get elected, how many millions of children and families would be forced into the hands of these vicious criminal cartels?”
“Within a week of that happening, there would be a rush on the border on a global scale unseen before in the whole of human history,” he added of Biden implementing his new policy. “It would be the largest gift to traffickers, smugglers and coyotes that you could ever possibly conceive.”
When asked for evidence of the claims, Trump communications director Tim Murtaugh told TPM that “it’s clear that Joe Biden’s open borders agenda would be a green light for human traffickers from countries around the world.” The Biden campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Miller’s comments smack of the QAnon conspiracy theory, a patchwork of beliefs centered on the idea that Q, someone inside the government with high-level security clearance, regularly releases clues about a deep state or shadow government trying to take down President Donald Trump. On the more extreme wings of the theory, believers accuse prominent Democrats and pop culture celebrities of running child sex trafficking rings.
Murtaugh did not address TPM’s questions about whether Miller’s comments were meant to reference the QAnon conspiracy theory.
QAnon adherents can often be seen at Trump rallies holding “save the children” signs. In 2016, after Wikileaks published the emails of Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta, conspiracy theorists claimed that they found code words for pedophilia and human trafficking within them. That tin foil hattery caught fire online, and made the rounds through message boards and rightwing sites like InfoWars.
Somewhere along the line, it was decided that the basement of the basement-less Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington D.C. was the site of the child sex ring. In December of 2016, Edgar Welch entered the building and fired shots from an AR-15 as he sought to expose the nonexistent crimes. The QAnon theory burgeoned a bit later, but encompassed the beliefs and believers of that earlier conspiracy theory, which came to be called “Pizzagate.”
On a less conspiratorial but no less false note, Miller claimed on the call that “this administration kept families together.” A Homeland Security Department report from earlier this month revealed that 545 children, separated from their families at the border because of Trump administration policies, have still not been reunited with those families.
Murtaugh insisted that the administration has actually been keeping families together by dissuading them from trying to emigrate in the first place.
“The Trump Administration has been reuniting families by preventing the practice of illegal aliens entering the country in the first place, by enforcing previously unenforced immigration laws that led to people making the dangerous journey,” he said.