Another big news report was met with an abrupt and unequivocal denial Friday by the Trump administration – this time, over an Associated Press story claiming the team was considering a plan to mobilize National Guard troops to round up illegal immigrants.
The AP cited an 11-page “draft memo” that reportedly called for tapping up to 100,000 troops to track down illegal immigrants in border and non-border states. The memo reportedly said governors in the 11 states cited in the plan could choose whether to have troops participate.
But White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer called the report “100 percent not true.”
“It is false. It is irresponsible to be saying this,” he said, adding there is “no effort” to use the National Guard to round up illegal immigrants.
While immigration agents have been stepping up enforcement against illegal immigrants, prompting protests from Democratic lawmakers and immigration activists, a Department of Homeland Security official also said Friday the department is “not considering mobilizing the National Guard.”
The story shoot-down comes after President Trump held an extraordinary, marathon press conference Thursday during which he repeatedly accused the media of spreading “fake” news.
Trump included his own share of distortions during the press conference, like claiming his presidential election win was the most decisive in decades.
“I guess it was the biggest Electoral College win since Ronald Reagan,” Trump said.
That’s incorrect. Former President Barack Obama won 332 electoral votes in 2012 and 365 in 2008, compared to 304 for Trump (he won 306 in November, but two later defected).
Trump’s administration, though, has seized on various reports based on anonymous sources and draft memos to further its narrative that the press is spreading falsehoods.
Late Thursday, CIA Director Mike Pompeo also denied allegations that the agency was hiding intelligence from President Trump, after The Wall Street Journal reported some officials were opting not to tell the president how they collected information.
“The CIA does not, has not, and will never hide intelligence from the president, period. We are not aware of any instance when that has occurred,” Pompeo said in a statement, calling the reports “dead wrong.”