On Thursday, in a speech in the Roosevelt Room at the White House, focused on his desire to tighten asylum rules to discourage those trying to enter the country illegally, President Donald Trump admitted something important.
"We have no idea who they are," Trump said of the large group of migrants currently making their way across Mexico toward the US border. Which is an, um, interesting statement given what Trump has said previously about who is in the caravan.
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Trump has suggested via Twitter that the caravan contains "criminals and unknown Middle Easterners." He has described the caravan as containing "very tough criminal elements" and suggesting to reporters that if they went into the middle of the caravan, "you're going to find MS-13, you're going to find Middle Eastern, you're going to find everything."
The Washington Post's Kevin Sieff, who has traveled with the caravan, reports a very different nature to the group than Trump describes. Wrote Sieff:
"Women push babies in strollers next to clusters of teenage boys. At night, small families sleep on the ground next to middle-aged men smoking cigarettes. One man walks with his 3-month-old puppy named Muñeca on a red leash. One teenager shows off his tattoo of a marijuana leaf."
The Point: The honest truth is that there COULD be a violent or bad person or two in the caravan. It's a group of more than 7,000 people. But the other honest truth is that Trump has NO idea whether there are "unknown Middle Easterners" or "very tough criminal elements" in the caravan. He's just saying it because he knows it will strike fear in the hearts of GOP base voters. And that's what he needs this close to the election.