On Monday, President Donald Trump took to Twitter with a dire warning certain to frighten many of his followers. He warned of an unknown number of "Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners" headed en masse toward the United States in a caravan of thousands fleeing violence.
In his tweet, the President stated:
"Sadly, it looks like Mexico’s Police and Military are unable to stop the Caravan heading to the Southern Border of the United States. Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in. I have alerted Border Patrol and Military that this is a National Emergy. Must change laws!"
Sadly, it looks like Mexico’s Police and Military are unable to stop the Caravan heading to the Southern Border of… https://t.co/aRmOl6HFMV— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1540211860.0
The President is surrounded by a cadre of advisers with decades of experience in national security and international intelligence gathering. So which of his experienced advisers provided this information to Trump?
Fox & Friends, of course.
Specifically, Fox & Friends guest and weekend Fox News anchor Pete Hegseth, who floated the idea that Isis has infiltrated the caravan.
Hegseth began, "The laws are, as the president calls them, dumb. They don't make sense. They don't protect our sovereignty. That's where you have to go back to Congress and say, it's about time we actually do something about it."
"A wall is part of saying, you don't get to come into our country unless you prove that you are a refugee. So, go to a port of entry, claim asylum, you'll get your day in court, we'll determine whether it's valid or not."
Then dropped this doozy:
"But, you got the president of Guatemala saying to a local newspaper down there just last week, they caught over a hundred ISIS fighters in Guatemala trying to use this caravan or other processes..."
Co-host Steve Doocy interrupted Hegseth then to ask:
"Are we sure that's true?"
"He talked to their local newspaper, we don't know it, it hasn't been verified. But even one poison pill is too many in a caravan."
You can watch the clip below:
People on Twitter were quick to trace the claim from Fox News to the President's Twitter feed.
Media Matters' Matthew Gertz laid out the path from a conspiracy theory far-right group to the President's Twitter account.
Fox has been stoking fears all morning about Middle Eastern terrorists using the caravan to enter the country. Exam… https://t.co/kOUrciRma8— Matthew Gertz (@Matthew Gertz) 1540213186.0
Left, Fox & Friends, 6:48 am Hegseth: "You got the president of Guatemala saying to a local newspaper down there j… https://t.co/MSPIU1gH4J— Matthew Gertz (@Matthew Gertz) 1540213360.0
Left, Fox & Friends, 7:07 am PICCOLO: "How many people are from specially designated countries, how many are poten… https://t.co/jSOLPv10Cr— Matthew Gertz (@Matthew Gertz) 1540213449.0
Left, Fox & Friends, 7:27 am Hansberger: "ISIS. Hezbollah, Hamas, the Taliban ... have declared war openly against… https://t.co/1wUqeZNvtj— Matthew Gertz (@Matthew Gertz) 1540213542.0
This appears to be conservatives taking the Guatemalan president's statement that they had apprehended "nearly 100… https://t.co/pFiboF9UDc— Matthew Gertz (@Matthew Gertz) 1540213730.0
The president is lifting up Fox News bullshit in an effort to win an election by fearmongering about brown people. https://t.co/AXBRuEnavH— Matthew Gertz (@Matthew Gertz) 1540213825.0
https://t.co/bmrQWsrWkI— Matthew Gertz (@Matthew Gertz) 1540214115.0
Reminder about why all this is happening -- Fox News wanted to exploit a caravan of migrants as a midterm election… https://t.co/eWKpGO5SuV— Matthew Gertz (@Matthew Gertz) 1540215119.0
Judicial Watch -> fringe right-wing outlets -> Fox & Friends -> Trump https://t.co/WEkviDlfKc— Matthew Gertz (@Matthew Gertz) 1540216891.0
Gertz was not alone in taking exception to the President relying on Fox & Friends for national security information over his own intelligence officers and advisers.
@MattGertz sell that fear.— Terlingua Music (@Terlingua Music) 1540213522.0
@MattGertz Is anything on Fox and Friends verified?— Robots in Kashmir (@Robots in Kashmir) 1540213539.0
@MattGertz @mmfa Anything to rile up the know-nothings.— longislandtonv (@longislandtonv) 1540218121.0
@MattGertz @mmfa The Reichstag is burning.— Liam🍑Hughes (@Liam🍑Hughes) 1540218459.0
Some expressed their displeasure directly to Trump on Twitter.
@realDonaldTrump “Unknown Middle-Easterners? Really? This is outrageous bullshit even for you. Jeez... you must rea… https://t.co/pivBVMAp7V— Andy Ostroy (@Andy Ostroy) 1540214330.0
While some mocked the message and the President's typo.
@realDonaldTrump Its an EMERGY!!! everyone run in circles and scream insanely!!!— Dennis R Longo Jr (@Dennis R Longo Jr) 1540213841.0
@ardwen2 @realDonaldTrump https://t.co/7XnzGDY4A3— Ashley The Fearless (@Ashley The Fearless) 1540214652.0
Many accused both Fox News and the President of trying to create fear and panic to affect the 2018 midterm elections. Trump hopes to retain control of Congress for the GOP.
Midterm elections are slated for Tuesday, November 6, 2018.