As the investigation into Tuesday’s terror attack in New York City continues, President Trump and his supporters have already begun blaming the incident on Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer. According to countless tweets and Fox News reports covering Sayfullo Saipov, the Uzbekistani suspected terrorist who drove a truck along a popular Manhattan bike path, Schumer apparently championed a State Department-sponsored Diversity Visa Lottery supposedly used by the suspect. Yet as the Washington Post notes, Saipov’s allegedly using the program to gain entry to the United States remains unconfirmed.
Citing a clip from Sean Hannity’s Tuesday program, which featured conservative radio host Mark Levin, Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy remarked, “I looked online and there are a bunch of websites that say Chuck Schumer was one of the sponsors. We have not independently confirmed that.” Despite the brief attempt at objectivity, however, fellow co-host Brian Kilmeade brazenly interrupted Doocy and exclaimed, “Let’s see if he comes out and says, ‘I’m responsible.'” Continuing, he said, “If your intention was pure, if you really think we need more diversity… come out say this thing is archaic.”
Trump, who had spent his Tuesday night tweeting at length about the New York terrorist attack and the need to push his “Extreme Vetting Program,” took the bait.
However, while the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program does exist, and while then-Rep. Schumer did sponsor the 1990 House bill that led to its creation, the now-repeated claims of Levin, Hannity, newest Fox News-er Laura Ingraham, and Trump are apparently based on an unconfirmed story. Per the Post, New York affiliate ABC 7 claimed in a story about Saipov that investigators “[said] he came to the United States seven years ago from Uzbekistan under what is called the Diversity Visa Program, which offers a lottery for people from countries with few immigrants in America.”
Of course, the initial report about Saipov’s entry into the U.S. may prove to be true. Yet as the Post and other commentators have already pointed out, the quickness of Trump and his supporters in blaming Schumer for Tuesday’s attack is quite the stretch. After all, the House bill was “sponsored by Schumer and 31 others, including several Republicans.” Its Senate counterpart “passed in an overwhelming 89-8 vote and was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush.” So while Schumer’s name is attached to the legislation behind the visa program, it’s not the only one.
Scbumer has now tweeted a response to Trump’s “proposed funding cuts to anti-terrorism efforts.”