Kellyanne Conway, one of President Trump’s closest advisors, has admitted her “Bowling Green” error, via Twitter. During an interview on MSNBC’s Hard ball, with Chris Matthews, she referenced a “Bowling Green Massacre,” which she blamed on two Iraqi refugees, whom she called “masterminds.”
She also said that President Obama had halted Iraqi immigration as a result. But these statements were not true. It turns out, no massacre of any kind occurred in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and President Obama never halted Iraqi immigration, though he did order revetting of many Iraqi refugees, which slowed, but never stopped, the immigration process. The two Iraqi refugees were apparently up to no good, attempting to smuggle weapons out of the country, to Al Qaeda in Iraq, but they weren’t involved with, nor were they planning, a massacre or violent incident of any kind in the United States.
Conway’s gaff is the latest in a surprisingly large number of factually incorrect statements attributed to Trump Administration personnel, starting on day one. Conway, who coined the term “alternative facts,” which was widely derided in the press and on social media, did at least own up to her latest faux pas, admitting to the mistake.
This is, on the one hand, an encouraging sign. Trump Administration personnel caught in misstatements of fact have tended to double down, rather than own up to their errors, which has lead to widespread accusations of lying. On the other hand, one wonders why the errors, misstatements, and perhaps lies are so common in the Trump administration. It is, of course, completely unacceptable to willfully misrepresent the facts to the American People—-to lie. It’s also unacceptable in office, especially at this level in government, to constantly get the facts wrong, even innocently.
These aren’t high school kids, just learning about the world, or interns working on their first jobs. Their casual disdain for the accuracy of their statements, and by definition, the truth, is shocking, and appears to filter right down from the President himself. These people are running the executive branch of The United States of America, a great nation, and the decisions they make are often matters of life or death. They are playing for keeps, or at least they should be.
Ultimately they are responsible for serving, and reporting to, the American People, and they owe the American People no less than assiduous devotion to duty, and a scrupulous attention to detail. In other words, the facts matter. They absolutely must get the facts straight, and the sloppiness, or willful disregard, that we’ve observed in the first days of the Trump administration is unacceptable, and disheartening.
Learn more about Kellyann Conway’s factual gaff (The New York Times)