The president is tweeting again.
Three weeks into a government shutdown triggered when the president reneged on a deal to fund the government, insisting instead that any deal had to include money for a wall on the southern border, Donald Trump tweeted about a story from the Washington Examiner that cited an anonymous rancher who claimed that Muslim “prayer rugs” were found at the U.S. border. Although the president likely imagines that this strengthens the case for his border wall, it’s really just an example of how the president will say anything he thinks backs him up, regardless of whether it’s true.
“There’s a lot of people coming in not just from Mexico … People, the general public, just don’t get the terrorist threats of that,” the story quotes the rancher as saying. “That’s what’s really scary. You don’t know what’s coming across. We’ve found prayer rugs out here. It’s unreal. It’s not just Mexican nationals that are coming across.”
That is the entirety of the evidence provided for the discovery of “prayer rugs” at the border. The Examiner provides no photographs, no press accounts, no confirmation from government documents or sources—just the word of a single anonymous rancher. The same rancher also warns that the Border Patrol has caught migrants of other nationalities, including “Czechoslovakians.” Czechoslovakia hasn’t existed since George H. W. Bush was president. It’s one thing to use anonymous sources; it’s another to print whatever they say without a cursory attempt at verification.