Twitter doesn’t have an edit button, so, while everyone makes mistakes, if you’re going to post a political claim, as an elected official, it’s probably a good idea to double-check your facts before hitting ‘Tweet.’ Case in point: Congresswoman Debbie Lesko, who declared Tuesday night that there were a billion immigrants caught illegally crossing the U.S. border from Mexico.
Naturally, Lesko is being given a justifiably hard time for a tweet that could be read as a simple late-night error, or as an attempt to seriously misrepresent an issue that is particularly effective for stoking the fears of the Republican base.
She shared an article from the Wall Street Journal, which describes, both in content and title, an increase in border arrests in recent months, specifically noting that the number has “top[ped] one million in six months.” These include, the story notes, a “sharp rise in immigrants from Cuba and Ukraine.”
However, in her post, which wasn’t deleted until well into the following morning, Lesko misrepresented this number by writing it out with way too many zeroes — turning one million into one billion.
As could be expected, by the time she deleted it, she’d already been ruthlessly mocked as Twitter users discussed whether she’s really bad at math, or was intentionally falsifying the facts.
By the way, a billion is A LOT more than a million, in case that wasn’t clear.
You honestly believe that nearly 13 percent of the world’s entire population attempted to cross the border between Mexico and the United States in a six-month period?
— David Lytle (@davitydave) April 20, 2022
The Biden admin apprehended 3 TIMES as many people as live in the US?
Are you trying to be a dumber version of Marsha Blackburn?
— bob clendenin 🇺🇸 (@bobclendenin) April 20, 2022
Debbie Lesko must be using Trump math, he would call several hundred thousand a billion all the time too. @RepDLeskoSee Also
— NoelCaslerComedy (@caslernoel) April 20, 2022
Don't think for a second @RepDLesko tweeted one billion by mistake. She knows that her base demands outlandish claims on a daily basis and they aren't concerned with fact checking.
— Bruce Cargin (@BruceCargin) April 20, 2022
As of this writing, Representative Lesko has not issued a correction or explanation for the inaccurate tweet, despite deleting it.
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Steph Bazzle reports on social issues and religion for Hill Reporter. She focuses on stories that speak to everyone's right to practice what they believe in and receive the support of their communities and government officials. You can reach her at Steph@HillReporter.com