A Donald Trump campaign spokeswoman sparred with a CNN anchor Monday over the process for vetting Syrian refugees, and when the journalist cited a fact-checking website’s assessment of the process the spokeswoman retorted, “We’re not going to base national security off PolitiFact, or even the United Nations.”
CNN’s Brianna Keilar questioned Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson about how the presumptive Republican candidate would like to change the existing process used to vet refugees ahead of resettlement in the U.S.
In doing so, Keilar paraphrased an excerpt from a recent PolitiFact article, which examined Trump’s claim that there was “no system to vet” refugees from the Middle East, and determined it to be false.
The PolitiFact article outlined a process that begins with referral by the U.N. refugee agency and includes vetting and interviews by U.S. agencies including the Department of Homeland Security. It said the entire process “typically takes one to two years or longer.”
(The State Department says it takes an average of 18-24 months, and earlier this year officials said the processing time was being speeded up to three months in the case of Syrian refugees.)
Keilar ended her summary of the vetting process by saying, “this is according to PolitiFact.”
“You’re saying there’s no vetting process,” she said. “I just read the vetting process. How does he [Trump] want to change it?”
“Here’s the thing,” Pierson said. “We’re not going to base national security off PolitiFact, or even the United Nations.”