Donald Trump's campaign manager Kellyanne Conway speaks to the media while entering Trump Tower on Nov. 14, 2016 in New York, N.Y.
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty

Conway struggles to shake her made up ‘massacre’

Hardball with Chris Matthews, 2/2/17, 7:10 PM ET

Conway cites "Bowling Green Massacre" to defend refugee ban

Chris Matthews pushes Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to the President, on whether President Trump can insist that federal workers agree with his policies and further discuss the executive order on immigration. This morning, Conway tweeted a clarification…
Kellyanne Conway, perhaps best known for her defense of “alternative facts,” was eager to defend Donald Trump’s Muslim ban last week, and even had some anecdotal evidence ready when she sat down with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews last week.

“Two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized, and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre,” the White House aide insisted, adding, “Most people don’t know that because it didn’t get covered.”

Even for Conway, it was a bizarre thing to say – because there was no Bowling Green massacre.

A controversy soon followed, and the presidential counselor said she misspoke, using the word “massacre” when she intended to say “terrorists.” Conway has also complained repeatedly that the White House’s critics, whom she’s labeled “haters,” are being unfair to her, pouncing needlessly on an innocent mistake.

There are a couple of problems with the defense. The first is that it doesn’t make much sense: read the quote again and substitute “terrorists” for “massacre.” Conway meant to say the Iraqis “were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green terrorists” and “it” didn’t get covered?  That’s very hard to believe.

The second problem is that Conway referenced the exact same “massacre” a few days prior.
Kellyanne Conway took to Twitter on Friday to walk back her comments on MSNBC’s Hardball about a nonexistent terrorist attack in Bowling Green, Kentucky. However, this wasn’t the first time she used the words “Bowling Green massacre” in an on-the-record conversation with a reporter.

In an earlier interview with, she not only used this same phrase but also went a step further in describing the actions of the two Iraqi men involved in the case to which she was referring.
Conway spoke to MSNBC on Thursday, but earlier in the week, she did an interview with in which she also referenced the “Bowling Green massacre.”

The White House aide was actually quite specific about the incident that never happened, pointing to details with no basis in reality: “[T]wo Iraqi nationals came to this country, joined ISIS, traveled back to the Middle East to get trained and refine their terrorism skills, and come back here, and were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre of taking innocent soldiers’ lives away.”

Again, in reality, there was no such massacre. The Iraqis in Bowling Green were caught trying to send weapons to terrorists in Iraq – they were busted in a federal sting operation – and they’re both behind bars now.

But the idea that Conway twice accidentally referred to a “massacre” that didn’t happen is literally unbelievable. At this point, she’s developed a reputation for brazen falsehoods that the Republican pollster may never be able to escape.

Update: Here’s another example of Conway repeating the same claim, this time referring to the “Bowling Green attack on our brave soldiers.” There was no such attack, and the repetition of the claim reinforces the idea that she didn’t “misspeak.”

Conway struggles to shake her made up 'massacre'