Donald Trump has said, without providing evidence, that the “same people that raided Israel are pouring” into the United States via “our totally open southern border,” and asked whether they could conduct a similar attack.
The former president, and 2024 Republican presidential frontrunner, made the remarks in a video posted on his Truth Social website.
On October 7, Hamas militants launched an unprecedented mass attack into southern Israel from Gaza, killing 1,300 people, predominantly civilians, and kidnapping scores more. The Israelis have since hit back with an air and artillery bombardment, killing 1,900 people, according to authorities in Gaza. Israel has called up 360,000 reservists, and its forces are massing along the Gaza border ahead of an expected ground invasion.
In Trump’s Truth Social video, released on Friday, the former president said: “The same people that raided Israel are pouring into our once beautiful USA through our totally open southern border at record numbers. These are the same people, many of them, that did a number in Israel, a sneak attack.
“Same people we have pouring into our country by the thousands. Are they planning to attack within our country?” Trump added. “Crooked Joe Biden and his boss Barack Hussein Obama did this to us. We cannot let this happen. They may be planning something very very bad…people are pouring in from the Middle East into our country, largely males, strong young males. What’s going on over here? Are we going to be raided like Israel was raided?”
Trump did not provide any evidence to support his suggestion that Hamas, or any other militant groups, are infiltrating the United States via Mexico and could be plotting an attack. Newsweek has contacted Trump using the media enquiry form on his official website, asking if this information exists.
Politifact, a fact-checking website run by the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Florida, rated Trump’s claims as “pants on fire,” indicating it strongly believes them to be false. The website said: “Terrorism experts told us that there is no evidence that Hamas, a terrorist group in Gaza, has militants crossing the Mexico-U.S. border, much less in record numbers.”
Speaking to Politifact, David Bier, an immigration policy expert who works at the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute based in Washington, D.C., said there is no truth to Trump’s claims.
Bier added: “People aren’t crossing the border to conduct terrorist attacks or take over parts of the United States. A very small percentage may come to commit ordinary crimes, like selling drugs, but, overwhelmingly, they are coming for economic opportunity and freedom.”
In a statement released earlier this week, the Department of Homeland Security said it does not have “specific and credible intelligence indicating a threat to the United States at this time stemming from the Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel.”
During the 2023 fiscal year, which ran until the end of September, U.S. Customs and Border Protection detained 151 migrants on the FBI‘s terrorism watchlist who had illegally crossed the southern border, an increase on 98 for 2022.
In a separate video posted to Truth Social on Friday, Trump said: “I kept Israel safe, remember that. I kept Israel safe. Nobody else will, nobody else can and I know all of the players, they can’t do it. But I kept Israel safe, and I will keep Israel safe.”
Trump also expressed solidarity with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, commonly known by the nickname ‘Bibi.’ The former president wrote: “#IStandWithIsrael #IStandWithBibi.”
This marks a sharp reversal from comments Trump made on Wednesday when the former president said he would never forget that Netanyahu “let us down” by trying to take credit for the killing of Qasem Soleimani. He was a senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander who was assassinated by a U.S. drone in January 2020.
Trump has also said that the attack on Israel wouldn’t have happened had he been declared winner of the 2020 presidential election. Misspelling ‘stolen,’ he wrote: “THE ATTACK ON ISRAEL WOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED, ZERO CHANCE, IF THE ELECTION OF 2020 WAS NOT RIGGED AND STOLLEN.”
The former president’s claims of electoral fraud have been repeatedly rejected in court and by independent election experts. Trump has been charged over claims that he broke the law attempting to overturn the election result both across the United States and in the state of Georgia specifically. He has pled not guilty to all counts and denies any wrongdoing.