{{show_title_date || "Conway cites "Bowling Green Massacre" to defend refugee ban, 2/2/17, 7:10 PM ET"}}

Team Trump points to imaginary ‘Bowling Green Massacre’

Donald Trump and his White House team have had a fair amount of time to come up with compelling defenses for the president’s Muslim ban. So far, their rhetorical pushback isn’t going especially well.

Trump World said only 109 people were denied entry into the U.S. under the policy, but that number wasn’t true. They tried to argue President Obama did the same thing, but that wasn’t true, either. They said the policy had to be sprung on people in order to be effective, but that too wasn’t true. An Associated Press fact-check found a variety of other misstatements related to the controversial executive order.

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…
But as the Washington Post noted, Kellyanne Conway appears to have taken her affection for “alternative facts” to a whole new level.
During a Thursday interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, the counselor to the president defended President Trump’s travel ban related to seven majority-Muslim countries. At one point, Conway made a reference to two Iraqi refugees whom she described as the masterminds behind “the Bowling Green Massacre.”

“Most people don’t know that because it didn’t get covered,” Conway said.
And if there had been a massacre in Bowling Green that went ignored by rascally news organizations, Trump’s White House counselor might have a credible point.

But the massacre “didn’t get covered” because it doesn’t exist.

This incident, which did get covered, is what Conway appears to be referring to: “In May [2011], two Iraqi refugees living in Bowling Green, Ky., were charged with trying to send sniper rifles, Stinger missiles and money to the Qaeda affiliate in their home country. Neither of the men, Waad Ramadan Alwan, 30, and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 23, was charged with plotting attacks within the United States. A federal sting operation prevented the weapons and money from going to Iraq.”

The men were arrested, charged, and convicted. They’re both in federal penitentiaries now.

Because there have been so few incidents like these on American soil, Republicans have tried to use this example of the Iraqis in Bowling Green for all sorts of reasons. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), for example, insisted in 2014 that these two men “attempted to attack Fort Knox.”

If you don’t remember an attempted attack on Fort Knox, it’s because that didn’t actually happen, either.

All of which leads us to a few simple questions. First, if the Muslim ban were a sound policy, why does the White House keep making stuff up? Second, how much more mileage do Republicans intend to get out of this one incident from 2011?

And third, how soon will conservatives everywhere convince themselves that the Bowling Green Massacre really did happen, but those darned liberals just refuse to admit it?

Update: Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) claimed this week that there was an “attempted bombing” in Bowling Green. Again, in reality, that never happened. The Kentucky Republican just made this up. [Correction: I’d originally said Paul’s quote came this morning. He apparently made the comment on Tuesday.]

White House

Team Trump points to imaginary 'Bowling Green Massacre'