Press Secretary Sean Spicer is jumping on the Kellyanne Conway bandwagon of inventing terrorist attacks to defend president Donald Trump’s Muslim ban and foster the atmosphere of Islamophobia needed to whittle away our civil liberties.
Following Conway’s remarks about the nonexistent “Bowling Green Massacre,” Spicer is continuing to reference Atlanta, along with San Bernardino and Boston, as one of three U.S. cities involved in terrorist attacks carried about by Islamic extremists.
Boston and San Bernardino alone don’t do anything to help Spicer’s argument as while both were inspired by Islamic extremists, none of those involved are foreign nationals from the seven countries in Trump’s executive order. They were all naturalized or second generation, American citizens.
The only terrorist attack to take place in Atlanta was by the domestic terrorist Eric Robert Rudolph, who detonated a bomb at the 1996 Summer Olympics. Rudolph had zero ties to any Islamic extremist groups but was actually a Christian white supremacist who was incidentally was prosecuted by Sally Yates, the acting Attorney General who Trump dismissed for refusing to violate the Constitution.
Appearing on ABC’s The Week, Spicer pushed the sense of urgency of the order. “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 said.
Again, on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, he insisted that the order would spare more attacks on US soil. “Too many of these cases that have happened, whether you’re talking about San Bernardino, Atlanta, they’ve happened, Boston,” Spicer said. “Jeremy, what—do you wait until you do? The answer is we act now to protect the future.”
Later, at a press briefing, Spicer once again referenced Atlanta.
“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,” Spicer said. “There’s obviously steps that we can and should be taking, and I think the president is going to continue to do what he can to make sure that this country is as safe as possible.”
Trump has insisted that the media is covering up terrorist attacks, and has yet to respond to information that Atlanta has never been the location of such an attack.
Since Trump’s election, many have speculated about the implications of a “Reichstag Fire” to justify Trump’s ban or to justify further military actions against Islamic extremists. To that end, Trump recently accused the media of “covering up” terrorist attacks in the United States, a conspiracy theory straight from the delusional mind of Alex Jones at InfoWars. We cannot allow these liars to continue to spread their Islamophobic lies and foster a fake atmosphere of fear and division.
Dan Arel is a bestselling author of The Secular Activist; and Parenting Without God. He is an award-winning journalist and host of the Danthropology Podcast.