In his ongoing quest to delegitimise the news media, President Donald Trump incorrectly claimed that the press is somehow involved in covering up terrorist attacks.
Speaking to military leaders at US Central Command, Mr Trump defended his executive order to ban immigration and travel from seven majority-Muslim countries – which was blocked by a federal judge late last week.
But Mr Trump insists the ban is meant to protect the country from terrorist attacks, despite an already exhaustive vetting process for immigrants and refugees entering the US.
“You’ve seen what happened in Paris and Nice. All over Europe it’s happening,” he said. “It’s gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported. And in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it.
“They have their reasons, and you understand that.”
Mr Trump’s boastful lie that the US press failed to cover terrorist attacks ignores the hours and days of wall-to-wall coverage of both of the attacks he cited.
The false remark follows comments from senior adviser Kellyanne Conway, who made a similar fake claim that the press ignored the so-called “Bowling Green massacre” – an attack which never occurred.
“I bet it’s brand-new information to people that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee programme after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalised, and were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre,” she told MSNBC. “Most people don’t know that because it didn’t get covered.”
What actually happened was two Iraqi nationals living in Bowling Green, Kentucky, were arrested by federal officials in 2011. They were accused of sending materials for explosives to Al-Qaeda operatives overseas. There was never an attack on US soil.
As a result, Mr Obama issued a temporary delay – not a ban – on processing of Iraqi refugees for six months. Iraqi refugees were still admitted to the US during that six-month period.
Ms Conway – who had referenced the fictional attack once before – said she “misspoke”.
But Mr Trump – the President of the United States – is not likely to issue even a perfunctory correction.
Over the weekend, Mr Trump doubled down on his attack of US judge James Robert, after he issued the temporary block of the travel ban.
"Just cannot believe a judge would put our country in such peril," he wrote, tweeting while on vacation at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. "If something happens blame him and court system. People pouring in. Bad!"
As he continues to earn criticism from the press, the judiciary, and the American people, it appears he will continue to resort to using unsubstantiated claims – or lies – as his first line of defence.
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