White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, following in President Donald Trump’s footsteps, did her own conspiracy mongering about a caravan of asylum seekers and migrants traveling through Mexico toward the U.S. border Monday.
Speaking to reporters at the White House, as quoted by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins and CBS News’ Mark Knoller, Sanders said the President “absolutely” has evidence of “unknown Middle Easterners” traveling with the caravan.
She didn’t respond to TPM’s request to see the evidence, nor to TPM’s request for comment as to why Middle Easterners applying for asylum at the border would be cause for concern. Trump has provided no evidence for his claims, either.
ABC News’ Meridith McGraw reported Sanders “didn’t elaborate” on her claim about Middle Eastern migrants and asylum-seekers traveling with the caravan.
Trump asserted earlier Monday that reporters traveling with the caravan would “find MS-13, you’re going to find Middle Eastern, you’re going to find everything.” But according to reporters on the ground with the caravan, there’s no evidence to support that.
Sanders on Monday also appeared to reference a statistic provided to CNN’s Jake Tapper earlier in the day by an unnamed Homeland Security official who was responding to Tapper’s questions about Trump’s conspiratorial claims.
The official told Tapper that “CBP [Customs and Border Protection] prevented 10 known or suspected terrorists from traveling to or entering the United States every day in fiscal year 2017.”
Sanders told reporters a few hours later: “We have 10 individuals, suspected or known terrorists, that try to enter our country illegally every day.”
Sanders did not respond to TPM’s request for the source of that claim. In any case, the statistic has nothing specifically to do with the caravan: CBP has jurisdiction over all ports of entry nationwide, in addition to overseeing U.S. Border Patrol’s surveillance of the border itself.