In his recent rallies, Donald Trump has frequently referenced the migrant caravan crossing over Mexico. Trump sees the issue as being popular with his base and something that can be helpful with the midterms.
On his Twitter feed Trump wrote, “Sadly it looks like Mexico’s Police and Military are unable to stop the Caravan heading to the Southern Border of the United States. Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in.”
Trumps claims were quickly attacked as unsubstantiated. That did not stop Vice President Mike Pence from backing up his boss.
On Tuesday, Pence told the Washington Post’s Robert Costa, “Well it’s inconceivable that there are not people of Middle Eastern descent in a crowd of more than 7,000 people advancing towards our border.”
Pence continued, “in the last fiscal year, [the U.S.] apprehended more than 10 terrorists or suspected terrorists per day at our southern border from countries that are referred to in the lexicon as other than Mexico — that means from the Middle East region.”
Pence did not give any evidence to back up his claims. Of course, while there might be people of Middle Eastern descent traveling in the caravan, being of Middle Eastern descent does not automatically make for a dangerous person.
The President also received the strong support of Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Sanders claimed that the administration, “absolutely has evidence of Middle Easterners in the caravan.”
The Department of Homeland Security has not been so quick to back up the President. A senior counterterrorism official told CNN, “While we acknowledge there are vulnerabilities at both our northern and southern border, we do not see any evidence that ISIS or other Sunni terrorist groups are trying to infiltrate the southern US border.”
While Trump administration officials have not provided evidence to back up this claim, it is clear that it energizes their base. It is expected that the messaging will continue.
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Todd Neikirk is a New Jersey-based politics and technology writer. His work has been featured in psfk.com, foxsports.com, and PoliticusUSA. An avid pet lover, he has been known to contribute to Pet Lifestyles Magazine. He enjoys sports, politics, technology, and spending time at the shore with his family.