Poll: Majority of travel ban supporters say fake ‘Bowling Green massacre’ justifies executive order

Poll: Majority of travel ban supporters say fake ‘Bowling Green massacre’ justifies executive order
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Roughly half of Americans who support President Trump’s controversial executive order on refugees and immigrants say the ban is justified following the nonexistent "Bowling Green massacre," according to a new poll by the left-leaning Public Policy Polling.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway referred to the massacre, which never happened, during several media appearances, including a segment on MSNBC’s “Hardball.” Over the course of the interview, the senior White House aide made several references to a “massacre” in Bowling Green, Ky., as justification for banning citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries from traveling to the United States temporarily.

Still, of those who support it, 51 percent thought Conway’s remarks about the massacre showed good reason to pursue the Jan. 27 order. Only about 23 percent of the ban’s supporters said the ban couldn't use the massacre as justification.

Conway apparently misspoke while trying to discuss an incident in which two Iraqi nationals living in Bowling Green were arrested for trying to help al Qaeda. But the supposed attack never actually happened, and Conway later apologized for the comments.

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Only about 45 percent of Americans polled support the president’s executive action, the poll found, compared to 49 percent who oppose it.

The poll also found that a plurality of Americans  — 48 percent — consider Trump’s executive order to be a Muslim ban, while 43 percent said it is not. White House spokesman Sean Spicer has disputed the claim that the order amounts to a ban, although Trump has used the word himself to describe it.

The executive action spurred chaos and protests almost immediately after it was issued. The poll found that 66 percent of Americans thought the order was poorly executed, compared with only 27 percent who applauded the way it was carried out.

An appeals court on Thursday rejected Trump’s effort to keep the order in effect pending a court battle, after a federal judge in Seattle temporarily blocked the action last week. The administration is expected to appeal the decision.

During his presidential campaign, Trump proposed implementing a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country, but eventually walked back that idea, saying such a ban would only include certain countries.

The executive order has been seen by some as the fulfillment of that campaign promise. But revelations of the order’s sweeping purview and accusations of religious discrimination led to an immediate host of legal challenges.