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Michigan Rep. Says Buses At Airport Were Full of ‘Illegal Invaders’ But They Were Athletes

Michigan state Rep. Matthew Maddock was recently called out by a fellow lawmaker for a social media post where he called a bus full of college athletes “illegal invaders.”
Michigan state Rep. Matthew Maddock was recently called out by a fellow lawmaker for a social media post where he called a bus full of college athletes “illegal invaders.” gophouse.org

Michigan state Republican Rep. Matthew Maddock posted a photo on social media on Wednesday of buses at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, claiming the buses were transporting “illegal invaders,” seemingly referring to immigrants, but they were actually transporting college basketball players.

Wayne County Airport Authority, which operates Detroit Metro Airport, confirmed that the buses were transporting four men’s basketball teams competing in this weekend’s Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games in Detroit.

“The four men’s basketball teams competing in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 at Little Caesars Arena arrived at DTW Wednesday evening,” the WCAA representative told HuffPost in an email. “The buses seen in a photograph circulating online were transporting the basketball teams and their respective staffs.”

In a text message, Maddock didn’t answer whether he would delete the tweet now that it appears it’s misinformation; instead claiming immigrants are “dangerous.”

Maxwell White, a reporter in Detroit, wrote on social media on Thursday that the buses were carrying the Gonzaga basketball team. A representative from Gonzaga University’s athletics couldn’t confirm that.

“We did fly an Allegiant plane in, but so did a few other teams,” the representative told HuffPost in an email.

Michigan state Sen. Mallory McMorrow wrote on social media that Maddock’s post is “dangerous.”

“A sitting State Representative sees a group of busses at the airport and immediately yells ‘illegal invaders’ which is a pretty rude (and also, frankly, dangerous) way to greet the Gonzaga Men’s Basketball Team arriving for March Madness,” McMorrow wrote.

Sam Inglot, executive director of Progress Michigan, an organization aiming to hold public officials accountable, said in a news release that Maddock’s language leads to violence.

“A lot of people are making fun of Maddock for this, but it’s important to acknowledge the dangerous rhetoric he used while spreading his misinformation,” Inglot said. “Maddock and so many Republicans across the country are carelessly using militaristic language to describe an already-marginalized group of people. This type of dehumanization inevitably leads to violence and we cannot let Republicans get away with using it to divide our communities and put people in danger.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Maddock and his wife spread misinformation about the virus, and they denied the 2020 election results. Maddock’s wife, Meshawn Maddock, claimed to have organized 20 buses to transport Donald Trump supporters to Washington, D.C., for the Jan. 6, 2021, rally.

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