WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump sought Friday to bolster his case for border-wall funding by pointing to a migrant caravan heading toward the United States and citing a news story that quoted an anonymous New Mexico rancher saying she has found Muslim prayer rugs on her property.
The president’s arguments, in morning tweets, represented his latest attempt to portray a security crisis at the border using what Democrats have derided as scare tactics.
The tweets come as Trump and congressional Democrats remain at an impasse over his demand for $5.7 billion in border-wall funding that has led to a partial government shutdown now in its 28th day.
Border rancher: “We’ve found prayer rugs out here. It’s unreal.” Washington Examiner People coming across the Southern Border from many countries, some of which would be a big surprise.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 18, 2019
In one tweet, Trump referenced a Washington Examiner story that prominently quoted an unnamed rancher from a remote, southwestern part of New Mexico who said that her discovery of prayer rugs suggested “terrorist threats” unappreciated by the general public.
Rancher Admits She’s ‘Never Seen any Middle Easterners’
In a video that accompanied the story, the rancher acknowledged that she “never seen any Middle Easterners” herself. She did not explain how she knows the blankets she says she has discovered are prayer rugs nor did the video show any such rugs.
“People coming across the Southern Border from many countries, some of which would be a big surprise,” Trump said in his tweet that referenced the Examiner story.
In advance of last year’s midterm elections, Trump also sought to highlight what he said was a threat from “all sorts of people” of Middle Eastern descent joining a caravan making its way through Central America toward the U.S. border.
He at one point acknowledged “there’s no proof of anything” before adding “but there very well could be”a large number of Middle Easterners in the caravan.
In his tweets Friday, Trump pointed to a new caravan of Central American migrants crossing into Mexico from Guatemala that had been the subjects of segments earlier on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends,” a show the president regularly watches.
“Another big Caravan heading our way. Very hard to stop without a Wall!” Trump tweeted.