NANCY PELOSI IS REFUSING TO MEET WITH ANY U.S. CITIZEN WHO HAD A FAMILY MEMBER MURDERED BY AN ILLEGAL.
The post appeared on its own with no citations or other information to contextualize its claims.
However, we located a January 12, 2019 InfoWars post (with a headline that said in all capital letters, “HEARTLESS: PELOSI REFUSES TO MEET WITH FAMILIES OF VICTIMS KILLED BY ILLEGAL ALIENS”) that was likely either the source for or at least a longer dissertation on the topic.
InfoWars’ take rested primarily on a clip from Fox News, and it noted that the assertion was based on the claims of a group known as “Angel Moms”:
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has refused to meet with the families of victims killed by illegal immigrants, according to family members.
Several mothers of victims killed by illegals, known as Angel Moms, appeared on Fox [News] to explain that Pelosi has refused to hear their tragic stories, and has asserted that their suffering is part of a “manufactured crisis” at the southern border.
“I am disgusted by Nancy Pelosi. It is unbelievable that we have politicians in our country that do not care about our people! And she said it numerous times!” said Dawn Witherspoon, whose paramedic husband was mowed down by an illegal alien in 2017.
In the context InfoWars provided, the claim was no more clear than it was in the Facebook post. According to “family members” of people whose relatives were purportedly killed by undocumented immigrants, Rep. Nancy Pelosi “refused” to meet with them.
But that claim in and of itself is incredibly difficult to verify. Did Pelosi herself state that she refused to meet with either Angel Moms members or all individuals claiming a family member was killed by an undocumented immigrant? Did Pelosi regularly meet with other groups of citizens to discuss their concerns about issues like border policy? And what was the precise mechanism for securing a face-to-face meeting with Pelosi? Was there a lengthy wait to obtain one? Did Angel Moms show up to Pelosi’s offices unannounced and expect a sit-down meeting with her? (In 2014, NPR investigated how members of the public could meet with their representatives in Congress, finding that the process was nearly impossible. However, it’s not completely out of the realm of possibility.)
And what are “Angel Moms”? There appeared to be some confusing surrounding the terminology. According to Vox, a group known as “Angel Moms” was founded in 2000 for all parents who have lost a child under any circumstances:
A quick Google search will land you on AngelMoms.com, the website of an organization founded in 2000 as support group for mothers who have lost their children to any cause. It’s an unassuming website, with a graphic of a burning candle that looks like it dates back to the group’s founding year. “This candle burns in memory of Capri “Cappy” Walker. Forever in our hearts,” the site reads.
But AngelMoms.com has nothing to do with Trump or the speakers featured during his immigration policy speech Wednesday, the group insists.
“We are in no way connected to the women who were shown during the speech with Donald Trump,” Judi Walker, the founder of Angel Moms, told me in an email, adding that the organization has been getting a lot of attention since Trump’s speech Wednesday. “It is very upsetting,” she said.
As of January 2019, the AngelMoms.com domain was no longer operational, but a copy was archived. It is possible the original Angel Moms group reorganized under a different name to differentiate themselves from the immigration-focused group that later adopted their name. A Facebook group created in 2012 welcomes all “mothers who has suffered a lost of their child as a result of death.”
A Fox News segment in which parents from the Angel Moms group were briefly shown speaking at the 2:45 mark was attached to the InfoWars post. However, the hosts of the show (not the parents) said that Pelosi “refused” to meet with them:
Heartless: Pelosi Refuses To Meet With Families Of Victims Killed By Illegal Aliens https://t.co/blrEFjMxUI
— thoughtcrime (@RawDawgBuffalo) January 13, 2019
Donald Trump, Jr. also tweeted the same video, alongside a claim Pelosi specifically refused to meet with Angel Moms:
Why is @SpeakerPelosi ignoring and refusing to meet with these heroic Angel mom’s?
The victims of illegal immigration deserve a voice, even if Pelosi and her Democrat friends want to pretend they don’t exist. pic.twitter.com/545Rn2TxMV
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) January 13, 2019
In the clip, parents stated they wished to meet with Pelosi, but none of the individuals were quoted as saying she “refused” to do so.
On the same day that InfoWars published the clip, disinformation site The Gateway Pundit based their own blog post on the same segment, this one bearing the headline: “PURE EVIL: Nancy Pelosi WON’T TAKE MEETINGS with Any US Citizen Whose Family Member Was Killed by Illegal Alien (VIDEO).” Although the title implied that the attached video corroborated its claim, the actual clip was, once again, the same Fox News segment.
Ultimately, we found tweets and video in which people other than “Angel Moms” (and not the “Angel Moms” themselves) asserted that Nancy Pelosi had “refused” to meet with members of that group. Although the claim was widely repeated, we only sourced it back to individuals and sources reporting on the claim, not actual primary sources in which Angel Moms say Pelosi is refusing to speak with them.
Whether or not the group had requested a meeting with Pelosi and been rebuffed remained unclear, and we found no information to suggest that Pelosi had outright refused the group.