Sean Spicer Also Referenced A Terrorist Attack That Never Happened

Photo: Evan Vucci/AP Images.
Kellyane Conway is not the only White House spokesperson who has "misspoken" about a terrorist attack that never happened while attempting to defend President Trump's controversial travel ban. Press secretary Sean Spicer mentioned an alleged "attack" in Atlanta on three different occasions, before a White House official corrected the record today saying he actually meant to say "Orlando." According to CNN, the official said Spicer was actually referring to the Pulse nightclub shooting that killed 49 people on June 2016. The last time a terror attack happened in Atlanta was 21 years ago, during the 1996 Olympic Summer Games, when Eric Robert Rudolph bombed the Olympic Park. Two people died and more than 100 were injured during the attack. Rudolph, however, was a radical right-wing terrorist from Florida, not a foreign-born attacker. The Daily Beast first reported on the three different instances in which Spicer mentioned Atlanta as an example of a U.S. city that had been attacked by Islamic terrorists. The first time he made reference to the alleged attack was during an appearance on ABC’s This Week on January 29. In that case, the press secretary told Martha Raddatz that the White House needed to move forward with Trump's executive order before another terror attack happened. "What do we say to the family that loses somebody over a terroristic [sic], to whether it’s Atlanta or San Bernardino or the Boston bomber?" he asked her. He used similar phrasing on January 30 in a segment on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. There, he was asked by The New York Times’ reporter Jeremy Peters whether President Trump signed the travel and immigration ban because there was an imminent terror threat on U.S. soil. "Too many of these cases that have happened, whether you’re talking about San Bernardino, Atlanta, they’ve happened, Boston," Spicer answered. "Jeremy, what — do you wait until you do? The answer is we act now to protect the future." The third time he mentioned the alleged Atlanta terror attack was during a White House press briefing on January 31. In that case, Spicer explained to reporters why it was necessary to go ahead with the "extreme vetting" process included in Trump's executive order. "I don’t think you have to look any further than the families of the Boston Marathon, in Atlanta, in San Bernardino to ask if we can go further," he said. "There’s obviously steps that we can and should be taking, and I think the president is going to continue do to what he can to make sure that this country is as safe as possible." The fact that an attack never happened in Atlanta is not the only logical fallacy in Spicer's line of reasoning to defend the president's executive order. After all, neither the female shooter in San Bernadino nor the brothers who bombed the Boston Marathon were born in one of the seven Muslim-majority countries included in Trump's travel ban. And in the case of the male San Bernadino shooter and the Orlando attacker — well, both of them were U.S. born citizens who became radicalized at home.

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