White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders got fact-checked in an unlikely place Sunday morning — during an appearance on Fox News Sunday.
Sanders joined host Chris Wallace to talk about the government shutdown and repeated one of President Trump’s favorite lies about immigration, that terrorists are streaming across the southern border into the United States.
“We know that roughly 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 said.
“I know the statistic, I didn’t know if you were going to use it, but I studied up on this,” Wallace interjected. “Do you know (when) those 4,000 people come where they are captured? Airports.”
“Not always,” Sanders said, but Wallace insisted.
“Airports. The State Department says there haven’t been any terrorists found coming across the southern border,” he said.
— Matt Shuham (@mattshuham) January 6, 2019
Sanders responded, “It’s by air, it’s by land, it’s by sea. It’s all of the above. But one thing that you’re forgetting is, the most vulnerable point of entry that we have into this country is our southern border.”
She was interrupted again by a terse Wallace, who insisted that the 4,000 known or suspected terrorists who have entered the country have not come across the southern border and have instead been stopped at airports.
“They’re coming a number of ways, they’re certainly — I’m not disagreeing with you that they’re coming through airports,” an increasingly flustered Sanders said.
“I’m saying that they come by air by land and by sea, and the more and more that our border becomes vulnerable — and the less and less that we spend time and money protecting it — the more that we’re going to have an influx, not just of terrorists, but of human traffickers and drug inflow.”
Sanders’ appearance Sunday comes as the partial government shutdown stretches into its third week. The shutdown began last month after Trump refused to sign a spending bill that didn’t include funding for a wall on the southern border that he, during the campaign, vowed Mexico would pay for.
Nearly 800,000 federal workers are working without pay, tax returns could be delayed, funding for the Supplemental Food Assistance Program (SNAP) is on the verge of running out, and many federal workers are concerned about being able to pay bills and make rent.
All this, for a wall to keep out “terrorists” who aren’t coming over the southern border at all.
This story has been updated to correct the number of federal employees working without pay to 800,000. An earlier version said only 800,000 were going without pay.