Michigan GOP lawmaker falsely accuses March Madness athletes of being ‘illegal invaders’

A Michigan state lawmaker, who was actively involved in former President Donald Trump’s election denials, is facing significant criticism for spreading false claims. He alleged that buses transporting college athletes to Detroit for the March Madness tournament were actually carrying illegal migrant “invaders” into the city.

State House Representative Matt Maddock took to social media on Wednesday night, sharing photos of three buses near an Allegiant plane at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. In his post, Maddock claimed that the buses were “just loaded up with illegal invaders.”

“Does anyone have any clue about the destination of their police escort?” the Republican asked on the social media platform X, previously known as Twitter. In his profile on the platform, Maddock proudly identifies himself as Michigan’s “most conservative state representative.”

Four college basketball teams have arrived in Detroit for the second weekend of the NCAA basketball tournament. According to a statement from the Wayne County Airport Authority, the teams traveled by plane on Wednesday evening. The statement clarified that the buses seen in a photograph circulating online were used to transport the basketball teams and their staff.

Maddock’s post received immediate backlash on social media, as many users pointed out that a previous post on the Gonzaga men’s basketball team’s social media page had already mentioned their departure for Detroit, showcasing an Allegiant plane.

State Senator Mallory McMorrow, a Democrat, expressed her disapproval of a rude and potentially dangerous incident involving a sitting State Representative. According to McMorrow, the representative labeled a group of buses at the airport as “illegal invaders” upon the arrival of the Gonzaga Men’s Basketball Team for March Madness. McMorrow shared her concerns on social media, emphasizing the need for respectful and safe interactions.

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In his latest posts, Maddock reiterated his stance on Thursday, asserting that a significant number of “illegals” are entering the country and specifically Michigan. When approached by The Associated Press for a comment, Maddock chose not to address the fact that the buses were actually transporting basketball players.

Maddock expressed his frustration, stating that he has yet to receive a satisfactory answer. He mentioned that he decided to inquire about this issue due to its prevalence and the abundance of evidence supporting it.

Several Republicans who had initially echoed Maddock’s claims made in his original post, like Michigan GOP chairman Pete Hoekstra, quickly reversed their stance.

Representing parts of metro Detroit, Maddock, a Republican, received an endorsement from Trump during his reelection campaign in 2022. In his endorsement statement, Trump emphasized the importance of having leaders in Michigan who will thoroughly investigate and document the alleged voter fraud in the 2020 election, which he referred to as the “crime of the century.”

Meshawn Maddock, the former co-chair of the Michigan Republican Party and wife of the individual mentioned, is among 15 Republicans who have been charged with eight criminal offenses. These charges allege that they acted as fake electors for then-President Trump during the 2020 election. It is important to note that all defendants have pleaded not guilty to these accusations.

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