A top aide to President Donald Trump cited a 2011 “massacre” in Kentucky that never happened as a reason why the administration’s temporary ban on immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations is necessary.
During an interview Thursday with MSNBC, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, in defense of President Donald Trump’s recent travel bans, cited a “Bowling Green massacre” that was committed by Iraqi refugees and wasn’t covered by the media. An attack did not happen, and Conway has received a lashing on social media after media stories pointed out the error.
Conway said during the interview that Trump’s temporary travel ban involved only countries that former President Barack Obama had listed as being high-risk, including Iraq.
“I bet there was very little coverage, I bet it’s brand-new information to people that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre,” Conway said during the interview. “People don’t know that because it didn’t get covered.”
Conway tweeted Friday morning that she’d meant to say “Bowling Green terrorists” and included a link to coverage of the case, refuting her own claim that it didn’t get covered.
Two men from Bowling Green were convicted of terrorism-related charges after they were indicted in 2011. The two attempted to send weapons and money to Al-Qaeda in Iraq and admitted to using improvised explosive devices against U.S. soldiers while they were in Iraq.
There was a tightening of security checks for entry into the United States after the May 2011 arrests of Waad Ramadan Alwan and Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, The Associated Press reported.
In December, one of the two men convicted in the case attempted to have his life sentence overturned. The judge denied the request.
Daniel Pike, the managing editor of the Bowling Green Daily News, said Thursday night on Twitter that he was the paper’s city editor “when the Bowling Green Massacre didn’t happen.”
“We couldn’t cover the Bowling Green Massacre because it didn’t happen, but this newspaper has written close to 100 stories about that case,” Pike said in a following tweet.
Others took to social media to joke about her comments, including one group of more than 200 people who joined a Facebook group titled “I Survived the Bowling Green Massacre.”
Bowling Green radio personality Jelisa Chatman said Conway’s remarks were like a gift from heaven as an on-the-air subject. Western Kentucky University professor Guy Jordan said “jokes are flying” in town.
Even Western Kentucky’s beloved mascot, Big Red, was referenced in social media posts making fun of the White House aide’s “massacre” comment.
Chelsea Clinton also reacted to the comments on Twitter.
“Very grateful no one seriously hurt in the Louvre attack ... or the (completely fake) Bowling Green Massacre. Please don’t make up attacks,” she wrote.