Fox News Host Presses Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Her 'Inflated Figures' of Border Terrorist Apprehensions

Fox News, which is typically less critical of the Trump administration than other major networks, is not letting White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders off easy for the "inflated figures" she disseminated about the number of suspected terrorists that have been apprehended at the border with Mexico.

The discussion stems from Sanders' appearance on Fox News Sunday when she stood by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen's claim that thousands of "special interest aliens" have been stopped at the border and elaborated, "We know that, roughly, nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists come into our country illegally, and we know that our most vulnerable point of entry is at our southern border."

Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt put Sanders on the spot about her statement on Wednesday.

"Sarah, there were some discrepancies with some numbers," Earhardt said. "You had said that border officials detained 4,000 suspected terrorists last year and then the Customs and Border Patrol revealed the real numbers and only six people on the security watch list were detained over six months."

Earhardt continued: "We wanted to ask you about that. Why the inflated figure?"

Sanders then admitted her mistake. "I should have said 4,000 at all points of entry, not just at the southern border," she said.

But the press secretary then downplayed her error.

"The bottom line is whether it's one, four, fourteen or four thousand, one terrorist coming into our country in illegal fashion to do us harm is one too many. We have to take every step possible to prevent that from happening, including protecting our most vulnerable points of entry, and we know that to be the southern border," Sanders said. "We have to do what is necessary to protect our border, to protect the people, and that's exactly what President Trump has done, and that's exactly what he laid out in his speech last night."

Wednesday marked the third time Fox News has gone after Sanders about the matter. Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace also fact-checked Sanders live on the figure that day. On Monday, Fox News host Laura Ingraham asked Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway to explain Sanders's claims.

@PressSec on Fox: “I should have said 4,000 at all points of entry, not just at the southern border..."

— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) January 9, 2019

"It's a much smaller threat than you described," Ingraham said, referring to Sanders's comment. "Doesn't that hurt the credibility of the White House when we don't get these basic facts right, and someone's not doing their homework in the way they described it?"

Conway replied that the figure, 3,755, also included those stopped at international airports and that "it got unfortunately confused by my colleague."

"That was an unfortunate misstatement and everybody makes mistakes, all of us," Conway said of Sanders, then, like the press secretary, stressed that threats of any kind and scale are concerning.

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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders talks to reporters following an interview with Fox News outside the West Wing on October 25, 2018. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images