Two Democratic congressmen spread a years-old misleading Twitter story of a dead Syrian boy because of President Donald Trump’s recent immigration ban.
Connecticut Democratic Sen. Chris. Murphy blasted his fellow senators for being silent about the recent executive order by President Trump prohibiting the entry of refugees from specific countries by tweeting out a famous two-year-old photo of a lifeless Syrian toddler drowned at sea that became the symbol of refugees fleeing ISIS to get to Europe. Despite the tweet, The Daily Caller reported in 2015 that the Syrian boy and his family did not take that doomed trip out of danger for their lives.
To my colleagues: don’t ever again lecture me on American moral leadership if you chose to be silent today. pic.twitter.com/XW7sjmCcXh
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) January 28, 2017
It did not take long for Louisiana Democratic Rep. Cedric Richmond to follow Murphy’s lead. The Daily Caller sent an inquiry to Sen. Murphy’s office and is waiting on a response.
The Christian Right is wrong for being silent on this issue. It’s the silence of good people that allows evil to persist. https://t.co/jd5jdVbgOQ
— Rep Cedric Richmond (@RepRichmond) January 28, 2017
Former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid staffer Adam Jentleson, now with Center for American Progress, tweeted out the debunked story earlier in the week.
This is someone Trump would ban from entering America. pic.twitter.com/09x4Gng3Kl
— Adam Jentleson (@AJentleson) January 25, 2017
The Wall Street Journal reported the boy, Aylan, and his father, Abdullah Kurdi, had made their way with the family from war torn Syria in 2012 to a relatively safe area of Turkey for three years before taking the trip on the overloaded dingy of other migrants. Kurdi had labored on construction sites for 50 Turkish lira (around $17) a day.
Kurdi told a Syrian radio station it was not enough to support himself and his family and needed financial support from his sister, Tima Kurdi, a longtime resident of Vancouver, Canada, to help with the rent.
According to WSJ, Tima claimed her father wanted his son Abdullah to go to Europe and get his damaged teeth repaired and simultaneously find a way to get his family to Europe at a later date, so Tima wired around $1,100 to her brother to help pay for the trip. Abdullah insisted on bringing his entire family with him to Europe in one trip because his wife could not support their two sons by herself in Istanbul.
“If we go, we go all of us,” Tima told WSJ her brother said, but Abdullah’s wife was scared of the water and couldn’t swim, Tima added.
“I said to her, ‘I cannot push you to go. If you don’t want to go, don’t go,’” she said. “But I guess they all decided they wanted to do it all together,” Tima said.
Abdullah claimed he paid smugglers around 4,000 Euros to take him and his family to Greece. The 15-foot boat capsized on its way to the Greek Island of Kos killing 12 passengers, including Aylan, Aylan’s younger brother Galip, and his mother, Rehan. Abdullah was the only member of his family who survived.
Regardless of the backstory, the photo of Aylan laying lifeless on the shoreline became an international symbol for refugees.
The government of Turkey charged Abdullah of helping to organize the failed smuggling operation at sea and tried him in absentia in February 2016. Two other Syrians charged by Turkey for human trafficking related to the incident were convicted back in March 2016 and Abdullah had returned to Syria at that point.