On Wednesday, conservative outlets were abuzz with stories about an alleged rape in Maryland. A post from LifeZette captured the general tone of the coverage: “The brutal rape of a 14-year-old girl at a Maryland high dchool [sic] by two Latino suspects last week — at least one of whom was in the country illegally — is causing growing outrage over how school districts deal with illegal aliens.”
In his Tuesday night monologue, Sean Hannity discussed the story, proposing that it proved Trump was right when he claimed at the outset of his campaign that Mexico was “sending” rapists to the United States. (The suspects are from El Salvador and Guatemala.) “Following those remarks … he was mocked, he was ridiculed, he was blasted, he was demeaned by the alt-left-propaganda-destroy-Trump press,” Hannity said, before rattling off statistics about convictions of “illegal aliens.”
Hannity connected the incident to a 2015 crime allegedly committed by an undocumented immigrant in a sanctuary city.
The sanctuary city angle was a popular one. (Montgomery County, Maryland, where the alleged rape occurred, is not an official sanctuary jurisdiction.) Breitbart published a post titled, “Sean Spicer Slams Sanctuary City Jurisdictions After Illegal Aliens Accused of Gang-Raping High School Freshman,” though Spicer only indirectly addressed sanctuary cities in his Tuesday press briefing. The Federalist also employed this frame in “An Undocumented Man Allegedly Raped A 14-Year-Old, Now Democrats Want To Protect Him From Deportation.” That post discussed the Maryland legislature’s push to adopt a bill that, according to the publication, “would prohibit local and state law enforcement from cooperating with federal authorities to find and deport undocumented immigrants.” The Daily Caller took a similar approach in its piece about parent protests at the school where the incident allegedly occurred, but it noted in its conclusion that “Montgomery County indicated that it would cooperate completely with ICE.”
On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh suggested that the alleged incident exemplified leftist panic about the Trump presidency:
In Maryland… This is unbelievable. In Maryland, we have the rape of a Rockville High School student by two undocumented immigrants, and now the State of Maryland is taking a vote on whether they should become a sanctuary state! It defies… We’re gonna take a vote on how we are openly going to break and flout the law, and again this is because of Trump, because Trump is making everybody scared. Everybody’s afraid they’re gonna be deported. We need to provide a safe haven for anybody who’s afraid of Donald Trump.
An Allen West Facebook post about the incident accusing liberals of hypocrisy was shared more than 10,000 times:
In other news:
In the wake of an attack in London, England, conservative sites were quick to embrace initial descriptions of the incident as terrorism. Breitbart ran a regularly updated liveblog throughout the afternoon in which it identified a possible attacker, relying on reporting from Channel 4 News. Sean Hannity’s site published a post titled, “FLASHBACK: London Mayor Sadiq Khan Says Terror Attacks ‘Part and Parcel’ Of City Life” that referenced the mayor’s assertion that cities have to be vigilant against threats. Conspiracy site Infowars wrote, “ISIS is celebrating the terrorist attack outside the UK Parliament in London on Wednesday, an attack which had all the hallmarks of ISIS-inspired violence.” That post cited tweets from both New York Times journalist Rukmini Callimachi about ISIS chatter and one of the site’s own writers speculating about the ethnic background of the attacker.