Spicer’s alternative facts: an Atlanta terror attack that wasn’t
Is Sean Spicer out to outdo Kellyanne Conway in the area of
outright lies alternative facts?
White House press secretary Sean Spicer has repeatedly pointed to Atlanta, along with San Bernardino and Boston, as one of three U.S. cities that have been attacked by Islamist terrorists to argue that the Trump administration needed to act quickly to prevent another attack in the future.
While the Boston bombing and shootings in San Bernadino were both carried out by Islamist terrorists, neither involved foreign nationals from the seven countries in Trump’s executive order. There has never been an Islamist terror attack in Atlanta.
In a Jan. 29 appearance on ABC’s This Week, Spicer explained to Martha Raddatz that the White House needed to implement its executive order quickly, before another terror attack could take place. “What do we say to the family that loses somebody over a terroristic (sic), to whether it’s Atlanta or San Bernardino or the Boston bomber?”
Spicer used a similar line the following day on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, when The New York Times’ Jeremy Peters asked him if President Trump had signed the executive order as the result of an imminent terror threat on U.S. soil. “Too many of these cases that have happened, whether you’re talking about San Bernardino, Atlanta, they’ve happened, Boston,” Spicer said. “Jeremy, what—do you wait until you do? The answer is we act now to protect the future.”
At the White House press briefing later that day, Spicer again pointed to Atlanta to explain the need for the “extreme vetting” provided in the White House’s executive order.
“I don’t think you have to look any further than the families of the Boston Marathon, in Atlanta, in San Bernardino to ask if we can go further,” Spicer said. “There’s obviously steps that we can and should be taking, and I think the president is going to continue do to what he can to make sure that this country is as safe as possible.”
Seamus Hughes, the deputy director of George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security, said Atlanta should not be included.
“There has not been a successful jihadi terror attack in Atlanta,” Hughes said.
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