Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) seems to be pretty excited lately. Two weeks ago, he told Fox News that Islamic State may partner with Iran to receive nuclear weapons and cross the U.S./Mexico border – which is why President Obama shouldn’t play golf.
In reality, Iran doesn’t have nuclear weapons; Iran and ISIS are enemies; and how the president chooses to unwind during occasional downtime does not undermine national security.
But as Andrew Kaczynski noted, the right-wing Arizonan isn’t done just yet.
Rep. Trent Franks, appearing on E.W. Jackson’s radio program over the weekend, appeared to cite a report from a conservative website that has been dismissed by federal law enforcement officials about ISIS operating in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on the border with El Paso.“It is true, that we know that ISIS is present in Ciudad Juarez or they were within the last few weeks,” Franks said. “So there’s no question that they have designs on trying to come into Arizona. The comment that I’ve made is that if unaccompanied minors can cross the border then certainly trained terrorists probably can to. It is something that is real.”
Have I mentioned that Franks is currently a member of the House Armed Services Committee? He is.
Let’s unpack this a bit, because it really is remarkable for a sitting member of Congress to be this irresponsible in public, especially during a debate over national security.
First, why in the world is an elected federal lawmaker appearing on E.W. Jackson’s radio show?
Second, Franks was apparently passing along rumors from a far-right legal group called Judicial Watch, which believes it knows about ISIS operating in Mexico. A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security said officials are “aware of absolutely nothing credible to substantiate this claim,” but that didn’t stop an Armed Services Committee member from presenting the rumors as a “real” threat on a radio show.
Third, unaccompanied minors haven’t snuck into the country. They’ve crossed the border and immediately looked for someone in a uniform to take them into custody.
And finally, the Republican insistence that ISIS is poised to infiltrate the United States through Mexico continues to be very hard to take seriously.
Other than this, though, Trent Franks is on solid ground.