White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer is now the second high-ranking member of the Trump administration to make statements about a fictional terror attack in defence of the president’s travel ban.
Mr Spicer has referenced a terror attack in Atlanta by someone who entered the country from overseas. He’s now made the reference at least three times in recent weeks.
The last high-profile terror attack in Georgia’s capital took place 21 years ago by a right-wing terrorist from Florida. The man was not foreign-inspired, but rather someone who was upset over abortion and homosexuality.
Mr Spicer first mentioned the attack on January 29 while defending president Trump’s travel ban on seven majority Muslim countries. "What do we say to the family who loses somebody over a terroristic, (sic) to whether it's Atlanta or San Bernardino or the Boston bomber? Those people, each of whom had gone out to a country and then come back," he told ABC’s This Week.
The following day, he defended the ban on MSNBC’s Morning Joe.
"There was a very short period of time in which we had something to execute that ensured that the people of the United States were safe. Everybody's been protected," he said on the programme. "What happened if we didn't act and somebody was killed? Too many of these cases that have happened -- whether you're talking about San Bernardino, Atlanta, Boston… would you wait until you do? The answer is we act now to protect the future."
And on January 30, he told reporters in his daily briefing why some countries linked to terror attacks were omitted from the travel ban.
"Right, and we're reviewing the entire process over this period of time to make sure that we do this right,” he said. “But I don't think you have to look any further than the families of the Boston Marathon, in Atlanta, in San Bernardino to ask if we can go further."
Mr Spicer’s comments were first reported by The Daily Beast.
It’s unclear exactly what instance Mr Spicer is referring to, and Atlanta police spokesperson Elizabeth Espy told CNN that the department is unaware of any recent terror attacks. She told the network that the “last known terrorist attack in the state was 1996 in which Eric Rudolph was implicated,” she explained. "We have no record of an Islamic attack in the City of Atlanta."
The comments follow White House counselor Kellyanne Conway’s false comments that a terror attack took place in Bowling Green, Kentucky. She later apologised for her comments on CNN: "I regretted it tremendously," she said. "I felt really badly about that."