A GOP lawmaker mistook basketball players for ‘illegal invaders.’ Then he doubled down.

A GOP lawmaker in Michigan tried to whip up anti-immigrant furor by claiming that buses at the Detroit airport were being “loaded up with illegal invaders” — when it was actually basketball players arriving for the NCAA Tournament.

In a post on X on Wednesday night, state Rep. Matt Maddock posted two photos taken at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, one with an airplane on the tarmac and the other showing a row of buses.

“Happening right now,” he wrote. “Three busses just loaded up with illegal invaders at Detroit Metro. Anyone have any idea where they’re headed with their police escort?”

Maddock’s claim was quickly debunked by a Wayne County Airport Authority spokesperson, who told the Detroit Free Press that the buses, in fact, were for men’s basketball players in town for the NCAA Tournament. X users also added context to the lawmaker’s post, including tweets from a local reporter and the Gonzaga men’s basketball team, which landed in Detroit that evening.

But Maddock doubled down.

“100,000’s of illegals are pouring into our country. We know it’s happening in Michigan. Our own governor is offering money to take them in!” he wrote in part on X, referring to a Michigan program that offers rent subsidies to residents if they help house refugees and other new arrivals to the state.

The Republican lawmaker also replied to several X users by calling them “kommie.”

Maddock has long parroted Donald Trump’s claims about the 2020 presidential election being stolen. He’s married to Meshawn Maddock, a former co-chair of the Michigan GOP and one of the 16 people charged in connection with the “fake electors” scheme in her state in 2020. (She has pleaded not guilty.)

Like Trump and many of his fellow Republicans, Matt Maddock has been a strident critic of federal immigration policy. And he’s so intent on making his point that it appears he’s willing to ignore the facts: When reached by The Associated Press, Maddock refused to admit that the buses were for basketball players.

“I haven’t heard a good answer yet,” he wrote in a text message to the AP. “I took a tip and asked because this is happening in many places and it is well documented.”

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