On Fox & Friends this morning, host Ainsley Earhardt—taking her cue from the president—decided the families of people killed by immigrants were the best possible prop to use in blaming Democrats for the ongoing government shutdown.
Earhardt started by repeating a talking point that Trump brought up in his short but vile speech about immigration on Tuesday night essentially blaming the murders of several Americans on Democrats by reasoning that a border wall would have stopped their undocumented killers.
This is, of course, complete and utter horseshit. There is already a physical barrier on large amounts of the border, it doesn’t stop migration, and immigrants commit crimes at a far lower rate than other citizens. You know this, we know this—but the point of lying about this that if they do it enough, people will start to forget, hence the emotional plea. The call for empathy for grieving parents, many of whom did not ask for their children to be used as political props.
Here’s the quote in question:
How defeated would you feel if your child’s death was preventable, if the government was not allowing the president to put up—or people in Washington were not allowing the president to put up a wall—when these deaths could be preventable. I listen to these parents, and I don’t understand how these Democrats in Washington can listen to those parents and not hear their cries.
Earhardt, of course, does not mention the cries of Molly Tibbetts’ parents, who after her death openly declared their support for Iowa’s latinx community and derided conservatives’ attempts to politicize her death. That account doesn’t fit the narrative, so it won’t get mentioned.
The president has been leaning into this angle as well, referencing several murders by undocumented immigrants and gang members during his Oval Office address on Tuesday. Last night, he deceptively tweeted this figure to imply that immigrants are killing people in droves:
None of this reflects the truth. Murders happen in the U.S.—far too many, despite a nationwide decline. A small number of them are committed by undocumented immigrants. A wall will not change this, and it’s doubtful that anyone involved actually believes it will. But where there’s blood, there’s political opportunity, and the president and his allies will take it every time.
Correction, 11:25 a.m. A previous version of this article referred to Mollie Tibbetts’ family supporting the Ohio Latinx community. The Tibbetts family is from Iowa, not Ohio.