White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway outdid herself when she invented a terrorist attack called the "Bowling Green Massacre" in order to justify Donald Trump's Muslim ban. And true to form, she lied some more even while trying to "correct" her gaffe and to blame "the haters" in the media for reporting it.
Kellyanne Conway has proven such an adept liar that CNN, which has been frozen out by the Trump administration, declined to have her as a guest on this week's State of the Union. As if to demonstrate the wisdom of that choice, Conway took to Fox News' Mediabuzz program to defend herself over the fake terrorist attack that she made up — and managed to lie even more in the process.
Petulantly describing those who reported on the lie as "haters," Conway told host Howard Kurtz that she barely even misspoke:
KURTZ: You are drawing a lot of flack for telling MSNBC's Chris Matthews, talking about a couple of Iraqi refugees in the U.S. who became terrorists, that there had been a 'Bowling Green Massacre' and it wasn't covered. Of course, there was no Bowling Green massacre.
CONWAY: It was a plot. But they were masterminds, I had said that before, they were masterminds. I should have said plot or I should have just called them terrorists. But everybody should look at the ABC News article that I was referring to — that of course is trending, top trending article now on ABC News because I mentioned it. It's from 2011 or so, and it talks about these two radicalized Iraqis — they're part of al Qaeda. They bragged about attacking American soldiers. They are, you know, they knew how to make I.E.Ds. You just have to laugh, it's a lot of the haters, listen, it's a lot of the haters. I clarified immediately: I should have said terrorists and not massacre. MSNBC and Chris Matthews' show never even asked, never corrected it. I got kudos and accolades for giving that interview. Six to eighteen hours later, they popped up and reared their heads.
As it happens, Conway did much more than simply misspeak a single word:
CONWAY: These are nations, very narrowly prescribed, and also temporary.
CONWAY: I bet there was very little coverage, I bet it's brand-new information to people that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized, and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green Massacre. Most people don't know that because it didn't get covered.
MATTHEWS: Let's talk about the major strategic goal of this administration overseas, and here as well, to eradicate radical Islamic terrorism.
Conway invented a domestic terrorist attack that she claimed the media did not cover to justify the need for Trump's Muslim ban in the United States. She also invented an Obama administration ban on Iraqi refugees. As we reported, there was no ban under President Obama, and the two convicted Iraqi terrorist she cited never plotted attacks inside the United States.
And Conway did not clarify this error "immediately," as she told Kurtz — she waited a full 13 hours before tweeting a flippant version of this same defense, and only after MSNBC had gotten around to noticing.
Conway is right about one thing, though: The marks from her multiple lies will not soon fade, and CNN may have been doing her a favor by denying her an opportunity to create some more. Other news outlets would do well to follow suit, and to deny airtime to any Trump administration official who undermines our democracy and our government by lying to the public.