Kellyanne Conway invents terrorist attack to justify Trump’s refugee ban

“They were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre.”

CREDIT: MSNBC screengrab
CREDIT: MSNBC screengrab

Less than two weeks after she cited “alternative facts” to justify the Trump administration’s unrelenting false claims about Trump’s inauguration crowd size, White House Senior Counselor Kellyanne Conway is now making up a terrorist attack in an attempt to support her boss’s refugee ban.

During an interview with MSNBC that aired Thursday evening, Conway defended Trump’s ban by making a case that it’s not substantially different from how President Obama treated Iraqi refugees in 2011.

“I bet it’s brand new information to people that President Obama had a 6-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre,” she said. “It didn’t get covered.”

But there never was a “Bowling Green massacre.” Conway is likely referring to two Iraqi refugees who lived in Bowling Green and were arrested on terrorism charges in 2011. But those men were convicted of trying to send weapons to Iraq for attacks there. Not only didn’t they attack anyone in the U.S., but they were never accused of even trying to.

Conway’s comment was widely ridiculed on social media:

But by fabricating a terrorist attack to justify an anti-refugee policy, Conway essentially committed blood libel against refugees. She packed another lie into the above quote as well. After the two Iraqi men were arrested in Kentucky, the Obama administration slowed the entry of Iraqi refugees so they could be more fully vetted, but there was never a “6-month ban.”


Conway’s lie was amplified Friday morning by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who proposed a refugee ban of his own in late 2015.

Referring to Obama’s 2011 move to slow the entry of Iraqi refugees, Paul said, “this was done by President Obama in response to the possibility or the attempted bombing in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where I live.”

Refugees from the seven Muslim-majority countries covered by Trump’s ban haven’t committed a single act of terrorism in the United States since 2001. Beside the two Iraqis arrested in Kentucky, only one other refugee out of the nearly 800,000 resettled in the U.S. between 2001 and 2015 was arrested for plotting an attack. Refugees are already subjected to thorough vetting before entering the country.


Meanwhile, a white nationalist who a former classmate says is a fan of Trump and anti-immigrant remains the sole suspect in a mosque shooting that left six dead in Quebec last Sunday. The White House responded this week by reportedly seeking to shift the focus of a federal counter-terrorism program from extremism in general to just Muslims, with white supremacists being newly excluded from scrutiny. A 2015 study found that people in America are seven times as likely to be killed by a right-wing extremist than a Muslim attacker.