Fox uses Manchester terror attack by UK native to justify Trump's Muslim ban

That doesn’t even make sense

Fox News used a deadly terror attack that killed 22 at a concert in Manchester, England, to advocate for President Donald Trump’s stalled Muslim ban, which would ban travel to the U.S. from six Muslim-majority countries. But this argument makes no sense given that Trump's ban doesn't apply to citizens and the attack was carried out by a U.K. native who was born in Manchester.

Sarah Wasko / Media Matters

At least 22 killed, dozens wounded in Manchester bombing

NY Times: ISIS claims responsibility for Manchester bombing that kills at least 22 people. The New York Times reported that ISIS “claimed responsibility on Tuesday for the bombing at Manchester Arena,” which killed at least 22 people. From the May 23 article:

The Islamic State claimed responsibility on Tuesday for the bombing at Manchester Arena, the deadliest terrorist assault in Britain since 2005, as the death toll rose to 22.

The bomb tore through an entrance hall of the 21,000-seat Manchester Arena at about 10:30 p.m. on Monday as a concert by the American pop star Ariana Grande was ending and as crowds of teenagers had begun to leave, many for an adjacent train station.


The British government did not make any immediate comment on the claim by the Islamic State, which said on the social messaging app Telegram that, “One of the soldiers of the Caliphate was able to place an explosive device within a gathering of the Crusaders in the city of Manchester.” The SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors militants’ communications, also provided a translation of the claim. The Islamic State statement did not identify the bomber. [The New York Times, 5/23/17]

Fox News figures immediately politicized Manchester bombing to justify Trump’s Muslim ban

Host Shannon Bream brought up stalled Muslim ban after Manchester attack. Fox host Shannon Bream asked Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) about his reaction to the Manchester terror attack. After Paul said it shows the “need to control our borders,” Bream brought up Trump’s Muslim ban, saying, the “so-called travel ban is tied up in legal maneuvering.” From the May 23 edition of America’s Newsroom:

SHANNON BREAM (CO-HOST): Senator, thank you for joining us. I just want to get your initial take on what we're seeing out of Manchester.

SEN. RAND PAUL (R-KY): I think it's horrifying and it shows us that we're never really safe at any moment either in Europe or I think even also here. Also I think it illustrates what we really need to do as our first line of defense I think is protecting our borders and we have to be very careful who we let visit our country. We also have to be careful who we let come to live in our country. And I want to have a great mixture of people from around the world allowed to come, but we have got to have the safety of our country. We have to be very concerned about that. And I think that this is more evidence -- we don't know if this was an immigrant or not. But it is evidence that we do need to control our borders and be very aware of who comes and who goes.

BREAM: Well and yet as you know, the president’s -- well at least the second iteration of his so-called travel ban is tied up in legal maneuvering. It may end up going to the Supreme Court, but it’s on hold for now. There are countries on that list that were selected by the previous administration because of their concerns about the terror threat from those countries, and yet there are many people in this country who say having any type of ban or freeze like that is discriminatory and cannot stand. [Fox News, America’s Newsroom, 5/23/17]

Host Brian Kilmeade: Trump’s Muslim ban “seems almost logical” after Manchester attack. On May 23, Fox & Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade said Trump’s Muslim ban “seems almost logical” after the Manchester attack:

JAMES MITCHELL: Our problem, and I would agree with Judge Napolitano is that we're playing catch up. We treat this like a law enforcement issue instead of being proactive. It has been one of my chief concerns all along. In law enforcement, a crime has already happened. In the United States, we have civil rights, which I applaud and don't want to see removed, but those civil rights make it very difficult to act preemptively to stop these kinds of attacks.

BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): That's why the president of the United States, who clearly is showing the Muslim world he is not anti-Muslim, was saying, if most of the terrorists are coming from these nations who can't identify who is coming here, at least there's got to be a pause to protect the American people. It seems almost logical. Now, you know most of the hijackers are from Saudi Arabia. Do you believe we saw a different Saudi mindset two days ago? [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/23/17]

Frequent Fox guest Jay Sekulow: “Does anybody want to argue tonight that we shouldn’t have an executive order restricting who’s coming into the country?” Hours after the attack occurred, frequent Fox News guest Jay Sekulow used the bombing to make a case for Trump’s Muslim ban. From the May 22 edition of Hannity:

SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Police are currently treating this as an act of terrorism. We don't have full and completely knowledge of all the facts yet. But there has been so many and it almost always turns out to be it. It's a perfect time in light of the president's speech, to examine all of this, and I think we really need a reassessment. As free people around the world, and that is, to go exactly to the heart of what the president challenged the Muslim world to do on their own. To throw them out. To get rid of them or to drive them out of their places of worship, drive them out of their countries, no ground will we cede to them. And it's got to be treated as a cancer in human society. We are indoctrinating these kids, Palestinian kids, when they are three. They are being taught to hate Jews and Christians and Americans.

JAY SEKULOW: Yeah, so this is the -- what the president did was lay out what should have been done over the last eight years, but President Obama just would not do it. And I don't want to politicize this, but when you have eight years of the vacuum that was created, no wonder as Geraldo said, these cell groups metastasize. They went out for training and then came back in. I mean, does anyone want to argue tonight that we shouldn’t have an executive order restricting who is coming into the country, so that we know who these people are? I mean, does anybody think that tonight? Does anybody want to argue that case tonight, that we should not know from these particular countries of origin, who these people are, before we let them into the United States of America? I would like to take on that argument. [Fox News, Hannity, 5/22/17]

Contributor Lisa Boothe agreed with Sekulow, defended Muslim ban by claiming concerns about it have been “way over-sensationalized.” In a discussion of Sekulow's comments advocating for the Muslim ban, Fox contributor Lisa Boothe sided with Sekulow arguing that concerns about it were “over-sensationalized.” From the May 23 edition of Outnumbered:

LISA BOOTHE: Meghan, you had mentioned, obviously the first rollout was a disaster. But a lot of those concerns were addressed and rectified, and the second rollout was done in a much more organized manner. But I think that this has really been sensationalized. Because we are literally, as the judge pointed out, we are literally talking about a very brief span of time where there is a pause on countries that were identified from President Obama and Congress as places that needed travel restrictions in the first place. And in regard to the Muslim question, the top three largest Muslim population countries aren't included in this ban. So I really think that this has been way over-sensationalized. And look, we can take every help we can get in trying to solve this fight against terror. [Fox News, Outnumbered, 5/23/17]

A ban like Trump's Muslim ban wouldn't have stopped the attack

Trump’s Muslim ban would stop travel from six Muslim-majority countries, but the Manchester bomber was born in Manchester. As The New York Times reported in March, Trump’s travel ban “would have ended, with few exceptions, the granting of new visas and green cards to people from six majority-Muslim countries — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — for at least 90 days.” The ban would be irrelevant in the case of the Manchester bombing, which The Telegraph reported was committed by a Manchester native. [The New York Times, 3/15/17; The Telegraph, 5/23/17]