Or worse, a campaign ad for Joe Biden.
McCarthy was talking to reporters after an Oval Office meeting on debt ceiling negotiations when he mentioned that an Afghan national on the U.S. government’s terrorist watchlist was recently arrested while seeking to cross the U.S.-Mexico border near San Diego.
“We caught more people in the month of February on the terrorist watchlist than we caught the entire time of the last administration,” he said.
McCarthy: We caught more people in the month of February on the terrorist watch list than we caught the entire time in the last administration. pic.twitter.com/KRLfcqGrY8
— Acyn (@Acyn) May 16, 2023
The government typically uses the number of border apprehensions as a proxy for how many people are attempting to enter the country without authorization, so it’s not unusual, particularly for Republicans, to frame more apprehensions as a sign that the border is out of control.
But while the House speaker’s fiery rhetoric might have appealed to some, many noted that apprehending more people who are potential threats actually seems like a good thing.
Consequently, McCarthy set himself up for a whole bunch of Twitter mockery.
So the Biden Administration has been more effective in one month than the Trump administration was in four years?
— Christopher Wiggins (@CWNewser) May 16, 2023
Not really the flex he thinks it is.
— Levi Damien (@LeviDamien) May 16, 2023
McCarthy is so caught up in his own BS he doesn’t realize this is a good thing.
Either he’s full of shit or he’s dumber than a chia pet.
Either way he’s the worst speaker EVER.
— Gary “The Deep” Stater (@GaryKoepnick) May 17, 2023
— Kevin M. Kruse (@KevinMKruse) May 16, 2023
Excellent work Border Patrol. Thanks Biden https://t.co/HqMvb1ZdqP
— JodiKyman (@jodikyman) May 17, 2023
He’s blaming Biden for capturing more terrorists on the watch list than Trump did?
— 𝐂𝐡𝐢𝐝𝐢 (@ChidiNwatu) May 16, 2023
They keep saying this like it's bad news. https://t.co/sPVJbbIkc3
— Bob Cesca (@bobcesca_go) May 16, 2023
Chad Gilmartin, the deputy spokesman for McCarthy, insisted to HuffPost that the increase in apprehensions doesn’t necessarily equate to overall success, since, he said, “at least 1.5 million illegal immigrant ‘gotaways’ have evaded capture” after entering the U.S. under Biden’s tenure.
“Who would argue that over 175 terrorism suspects crossing our border is a positive trend?” he added.
The House speaker isn’t the first politician to get pushback for his comments on border enforcement
In July 2021, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) tried to criticize the Biden administration for seizing “enough fentanyl to kill 238 million Americans” at the southern border the previous month.
Biggs was then thoroughly mocked online for suggesting that he was upset about the successful interception of the highly addictive drug.