As a caravan marches toward the U.S.-Mexico border, President Donald Trump uses it as an example to energize his voting base ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.
President Trump Ramps Up Immigration Rhetoric Ahead of 2018 Midterms
KRISTEN WELKER, reporting:
I’m Kristen Welker at the White House where tonight President Trump is using the caravan as a critical midterm closing argument. Undeterred by fact checkers who have questioned his key claims, like saying, “Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in,” to the caravan.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Over the course of the year, over the course of a number of years, they’ve intercepted many people from the Middle East. They’ve intercepted ISIS.
WELKER: But today, this stunning acknowledgement when asked if he has any proof?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: There could very well be.
MAN #1: But there’s no proof?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: There’s no proof of anything. There’s no proof of anything. But they could very well be.
WELKER: A former senior intelligence official briefed on the caravan tells NBC News there is no evidence that any Middle Eastern terrorists are hiding in the caravan, and that Middle Eastern and African migrants accounted for just 0.7% of all border apprehensions last year. Then there’s the President’s claim blaming Democrats for the caravan.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I think the Democrats had something to do with it, and now they’re saying I think we made a big mistake because people are seeing how bad it is. How pathetic it is. How bad our laws are.
WELKER: Today, asking the vice president for backup.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: And the Democrats.
MIKE PENCE: Well, the--
WELKER: Democratic senators standing behind the President, trying to laugh it off. There is no evidence the caravan is being led by anyone other than Hondurans. Meanwhile, also today the President explaining this label he gave himself last night.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: You know what I am? I'm a nationalist. Okay.
MAN #2: There is a concern that you are sending coded language.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: I never heard that theory about being a nationalist. I’ve heard them all. But I’m somebody that loves our country.
WELKER: The President saying nationalism means putting America first when it comes to trade and foreign policy. When asked if he’s trying to stoke fears on immigration, Mister Trump saying, no, he’s not a political person and that’s why he won. Lester.