ABC’s Vega Sneers, Trump Rhetoric Not ‘Reality;' ‘Immigration’ Is Not ‘Invasion’

Friday morning on ABC’s Good Morning America, white house correspondent Cecilia Vega bashed President Trump for using “fear” tactics and “hard-line immigration rhetoric” as his “election strategy” for the upcoming midterms, echoing her colleagues in defending the illegal caravan as poor women and children “fleeing from violence.”

Anchors Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos framed Trump’s immigration talk around the midterm elections, noting that “enthusiasm and engagement” was at record high, so Trump was using “fear” of immigrants to rally his base. Vega agreed, mocking the president for creating a “doomsday scenario” out of the caravan when it was simply “immigration:”

The president is using words like national crisis and invasion to describe immigration in this country, even though that is not actually reality but this is his election strategy and by our count he's used hard-line immigration rhetoric nearly every day for the past three weeks. President Trump's closing argument a doomsday scenario in which America is overrun by undocumented immigrants.

“As election day nears, he is ramping up his rhetoric using fear,” Vega sneered, defending the group as just poor people fleeing violence that aren’t any real threat:

TRUMP: This is not an innocent group of people. Its a large number of people that are through. They've injured, attacked.

VEGA: Even though the migrants in that caravan, many poor and fleeing violence, are still about 900 miles from the border, and Mexican officials say the number is dwindling by the day. That is not stopping the president.

ABC also touted the liberal ACLU challenging Trump’s proposals on tightening immigration laws. Vega then went out of her way to defend President Obama by “fact-checking” Trump on his claim about Obama’s policy of separating families:

Ok and here’s another false claim this one’s over his controversial zero tolerance policy separating families at the border, the president says it's all President Obama's fault. Here's the reality. Families under President Obama were separated because the parents were tied to serious crimes like drug trafficking. Under the trump administration crossing the border was crime enough and we should say there are still 200 children in custody today.

Read the full transcript below:

Good Morning America

11/2/18

7:02:14-7:06:40

ROBIN ROBERTS: We'll get to that but we'll begin with the midterm elections just four days to go. Early voting is through the roof. More than 27 million votes cast so far. That's already 7 million more than in 2014 and social media is in overdrive. These are the most tweeted about midterms ever.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Enthusiasm engagement appear to be at a record highs. President Trump has settled on a closing argument that echoes the opening days of his presidential campaign trying to rally his base by raising fears about immigrants hoping to pick up Senate seats in deep red states. ABC's Cecilia Vega is here with the latest. Good morning.

CECILIA VEGA: Good morning. The president is using words like national crisis and invasion to describe immigration in this country, even though that is not actually reality but this is his election strategy and by our count he's used hard-line immigration rhetoric nearly every day for the past three weeks. President Trump's closing argument a doomsday scenario in which America is overrun by undocumented immigrants.

TRUMP: If you don't want America to be overrun by masses of illegal aliens and giant caravans, you better vote Republican.

VEGA: As election day nears, he is ramping up his rhetoric using fear, from the campaign trail --

TRUMP: These courageous Americans did not shed their blood, sweat and tears so that we could sit at home while others try to erase their legacy, tear down our history and destroy our proud American heritage.

VEGA: -- To the Roosevelt room of the white house.

TRUMP: This is not an innocent group of people. Its a large number of people that are though. They've injured, attacked.

VEGA: Even though the migrants in that caravan, many poor and fleeing violence, are still about 900 miles from the border, and Mexican officials say the number is dwindling by the day. That is not stopping the president. He's now promising a new executive order to crack down on asylum seekers, a move sure to trigger legal challenges. He wants to potentially detain families indefinitely.

TRUMP: We're putting up massive cities of tents.

VEGA: The ACLU issuing this statement, quote, if he plans at some point to prohibit people from applying for asylum between the ports of entry that plan is illegal.’ And those 15,000 troops the president says he'll send to the border, he now says they would fire their weapons at the caravan if migrants throw rocks.

VEGA: Can you envision them firing upon any of these people?

TRUMP: I hope not. It's the military. I hope there won't be that but I will tell you this, anybody throwing stones, rock, we will consider that a firearm. Because there's not much difference. They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back. We're going to consider and I told them consider it a rifle.

VEGA: Retired general Martin Dempsey, former chairman of the joints chief of staff, saying of that troop deployment, our men and women in uniform are better trained, better equipped and better led so they meet any threat with confidence. A wasteful deployment of overstretched soldiers and Marines would be made much worse if they use force disproportional to the threat they face. They won't.

Ok and here’s another false claim this one’s over his controversial zero tolerance policy separating families at the border, the president says it's all President Obama's fault. Here's the reality. Families under President Obama were separated because the parents were tied to serious crimes like drug trafficking. Under the trump administration crossing the border was crime enough and we should say there are still 200 children in custody today.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Cecilia, as you point out the president talked about it every day for the last few weeks. Throws out new proposals every day. Not clear which ones he’s going to follow through on. But especially on this issue of the military at the border, we have laws from prohibiting the military from being involved in enforcement action. It's not even clear that the military would be in any position to fire if there was any kind of violence.

VEGA: It's not even clear that the Pentagon was ready for this. What the president is saying he wants as many as 15,000 troops on the border. The Pentagon says there will actually be up to 8,000 troops so there’s daylight there, and this scenario of firing on migrants seems to be at odds with what the Pentagon is saying publicly. They're saying -- they're emphasizing the military will be there in a support role so who knows.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Far from the border. Wouldn't even have the ammunition inside their weapons.

VEGA: Building tents.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Cecilia Vega, thanks very much.


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