During an interview on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews Thursday, top presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway accused the media of being too soft on Democratic politicians. That's nothing new — she's been doing that ever since Donald Trump hired her to run his campaign in July. But this time, during her garden-variety attacks on the press, Conway also made a cryptic reference that left many viewers wondering: Exactly what is the Bowling Green massacre?
“I bet it’s brand new information to people that President Obama had a six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program after two Iraqis came here to this country, were radicalized and they were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre,” Conway told Matthews. “Most people don’t know that because it didn’t get covered.”
Conway is correct that most people don't know about it, and she's correct that it didn't get covered. This is because it never happened. I'm going to repeat myself to make sure there's no confusion: There is absolutely, positively no such thing as the Bowling Green massacre. No event such as the one described by Conway ever took place, and the phrase "bowling green massacre" does not refer to any known event. Go ahead, look it up — it simply never happened.
Here's what Conway is probably talking about: In 2011, two Iraqi citizens were arrested, and ultimately convicted, for attacking American soldiers in Iraq. At the time of their arrest, they were living in Bowling Green, Kentucky; they had come to the United States as part of the Iraqi refugee program. After their arrest, the Obama administration ordered a review of all Iraqi refugees who'd been granted admittance to the United States, which slowed down the pace at which refugees were accepted into the country for around six months.
That's it. There was no "six-month ban on the Iraqi refugee program." There was no domestic radicalization of the men in question. And there was certainly no massacre in the city of Bowling Green.
A Trump supporter might argue that this is missing the point: Ultimately, two dangerous Iraqis were admitted to the United States through the refugee program, and that's all that matters. However, the only reason Conway referenced this fake massacre was to defend Trump's immigration ban — specifically, to prove that Iraqi refugees represent a "high risk" to the American people, and thus should be banned from coming to this country. But the only piece of evidence Conway cited was not evidence at all.
So, why didn't Conway cite an actual example of a refugee committing a fatal terrorist attack in the United States? Because that hasn't happened in over 30 years, and if she were to acknowledge that fact, it would make her boss' travel ban seem both counterproductive and misguided.
One upside to this: Somewhere, a jam band just found its name.