This morning, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders braved one of the Sunday shows in one of those haphazard efforts she and the White House sometimes make to suggest to the public that she continues to have, despite the near-total scrub of administration press briefings, a day job. It was the safest network, Fox News, and it went absolutely horribly as Fox host Even Chris Wallace cleaned her clock.
“We know that roughly nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists come into our country illegally, and we know that our most vulnerable point of entry is southern border,” Sanders began, but Wallace cut her off.
“I know the statistic, I didn’t know if you were going to use it, but I studied up on this,” Wallace said. “Do you know what those 4,000 people come where they are captured? Airports.” […]
“Airports. The state department says there hasn’t been any terrorists found coming across the southern border,” Wallace said.
The extended conversation was even worse for Sanders. Wallace wasn’t going to let that particular nonsense slide.
As the Washington Post’s Phillip Bump points out, Sanders was engaging in a multilayered lie on this one. The number Sanders is referring to (and which she inflated from the reported figure, 3755) is the number of individuals on the all-encompassing “terrorist watch list” who were refused entry into the United States from flights originating all over the world. Not one of those stops was, according to the State Department, at the Mexican border.
Sanders knows better, which again makes her a liar. The premise that 3700 individuals who discovered themselves to be on the national “no-fly” list after presenting themselves to customs officials in Paris or London represent such an existential danger to the nation that it requires building a wall over there, in the place none of them are coming from but which has gotten her gruntingly racist boss in a tizzy, is indeed so stupid a premise that Even Fox News can’t quite stomach it.
And is this, indeed, how things are going for the administration. To a person Trump’s staff has to maintain the dullard’s obsession, swearing that the United States government will shut down for as long as it takes for Donald to get his campaign-promised totem to conservative racial anxiety; in the actual surrounding world, however, nobody around them can tease out any way out of this other than an eventual administration humiliation and Even Fox News is beginning to get testy at how devoted Trump-land seems to be to this particular delusion.
An obviously incapacitated and self-obsessed “president” has now shuttered the government, indefinitely, in a purely self-obsessed bid to get what even a unified Republican government could not stomach giving him. Rather than talking him down, Trump’s remaining staff (including the mystery op-ed writer who insisted, not long ago, that they were doing yeoman’s work in keeping things running while the idiot in chief played with his toes and ordered government actions so extreme that staffers were nicking papers from his desk in an effort to sabotage him) appear to have no plan for extracting the government from the mess other than to wander onto the Sunday shows and spout things Even Chris Wallace can’t let pass.