White House spokesman Sean Spicer may have made the same mistake a top adviser to President Donald Trump made last week, by citing a nonexistent terror attack.
During at least three interviews in which Spicer defended Trump’s controversial travel ban, Spicer cited an Atlanta terror attack that never happened.
In a statement to ABC News Wednesday night, Spicer said he “clearly meant Orlando.”
The Daily Beast first caught Spicer’s misstatements on Tuesday. On the three occasions, Spicer named the nonexistent Atlanta attack alongside the Boston Marathon bombings and the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California.
On Jan. 29, Spicer explained on ABC’s “This Week”:
“What do we say to the family who loses somebody over a terroristic [sic] — to whether it’s Atlanta or San Bernardino or the Boston bomber? Those people, each of whom had gone out to a country and then come back.”
The very next day, Spicer took to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to defend Trump’s travel ban again:
“What happened if we didn’t act and somebody was killed? … Too many of these cases that have happened — whether you’re talking about San Bernardino, Atlanta … would you wait until you do? The answer is we act now to protect the future.”
Finally, at a press briefing on January 30, Spicer once again referenced Atlanta:
“But I don’t think you have to look any further than the families of the Boston Marathon, in Atlanta, in San Bernardino …”
Earlier this week, the White House released a list
of 78 terror attacks that it alleged went underreported by the media — though several incidents on that list were indeed widely reported by news organisation worldwide. Atlanta, however, was not on that list.
According to CNN, Atlanta police spokeswoman Elizabeth Espy said in a statement the department was unaware of any recent terrorist attacks. “From what we can recall, the last known terrorist attack in the state was 1996 in which Eric Rudolph was implicated,” she wrote.
A security expert also weighed in on the confusion in The Daily Beast. “There has not been a successful jihadi terror attack in Atlanta,” said Seamus Hughes, the deputy director of George Washington University’s Center for Cyber and Homeland Security.
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