CNN political commentator Errol Louis repeated a false story that has been proven to be a hoax on air Wednesday, alluding to an Iraqi mother who purportedly died because she was unable to enter the United States after President Trump's travel ban was implemented.
NewsBusters flagged the video on Thursday.
Louis appeared on "CNN Newsroom" with host Carol Costello to discuss Trump's executive order suspending the U.S. refugee program for 120 days and halting immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days over terrorism concerns.
A man from Detroit, Mike Hager, had told a local news station on Tuesday that his mother died in Iraq because she was unable to return to the U.S. for medical treatment once Trump's travel ban was put into force. However, the leader of a nearby mosque, Imam Husham Al-Hussainy, confirmed the next day that Hager had fabricated his story.
Louis referenced Hager's story as truth while criticizing Trump's executive order on CNN.
Costello asked Louis why White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer refused earlier at a press briefing to call Trump's order a "ban."
"So, Errol, I'm struggling as to why we're having this semantics war?" she asked.
"If it was a different administration, I would suggest that they've poll-tested it and found that it's giving them some negative results in the populace. I don't know that they've done that," Louis responded. "They seem to be moving much too quickly on too many fronts to pay any attention to that sort of close analysis, but, look, I mean, it makes them look bad, you know, in the eyes of the international community."
"All of the stories that have been done by this network, by other news organizations, finding who these people are–these so-called ‘bad people' who had to be kept out and finding out that they're children, they're elderly people, they're patriots, they're members of the military, they're, you know, grandmothers," Louis continued. "They're people who in at least one tragic case wasn't able to come here for medical treatment, and died, you know."
Louis appeared to be alluding to Hager's false story at the end of his comments.
MSNBC host Chris Hayes had tweeted about the debunked story but later issued a retraction.