Right-Wing Media Blames Bridge Collapse on ‘Open Border’ and COVID Lockdowns

Fox Business
Fox Business

That didn’t take long.

Hours after a cargo ship destroyed Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge on Tuesday, right-wing pundits, Fox hosts, and GOP lawmakers found a way to blame the deadly disaster on Democratic policies and their favorite culture-war battles.

According to the conservative media ecosystem, the horrific bridge collapse could be linked to President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan, the “wide open border,” pandemic-era lockdowns, and companies being forced to hire “drug-addled” employees.

The Dali, a 948-foot Singaporean cargo ship, struck the bridge’s pillar around 1:30 a.m. local time, causing the entire structure to fall into the Patapsco River. A harbor pilot was piloting the ship out of the bay at the time, and it appeared to lose power just before colliding with the bridge.

Baltimore Ship Lost Power and Sent Mayday Call Just Before Bridge Disaster

Six people remained missing as of Tuesday morning and two construction workers were rescued from the frigid waters, with one avoiding injury. A “mayday” call made just before the collision likely saved lives as it allowed bridge operators to halt traffic. Maryland Gov. Wes Moore asserted that there was no indication the crash was intentional, calling it an “accident.” Federal and local authorities concurred that the “catastrophic” disaster didn’t appear to be a terrorist act.

While the U.S. and Singaporean governments announced investigations into the incident and first responders continued searching the waters for potential survivors, right-wingers got right to work floating unhinged conspiracy theories about the bridge collapse.

With Elon Musk’s X awash in baseless claims that corporate diversity initiatives or Israel or globalist cyberattacks were to blame for the crash, conservative cable outlets Newsmax and Fox Business Network decided to dabble in some baseless speculation of their own.

During an interview with Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), Fox host Maria Bartiromo repeatedly attempted to link border security policies to the bridge collapse. “Maersk is out with comments this morning, the container vessel that collided with the bridge was chartered by Maersk,” she said on her morning show. “You’re on Homeland Security. I want to understand the threats or the potential threats that this country is facing right now given the wide open border, the fact that we don’t know who is in the country. We heard from officials that the FBI is looking into that but this is customary. FBI is always going to look into a situation like this to ensure there was no foul play.”

A once-respected business reporter who has transformed into a MAGA-pilled conspiracy theorist in recent years, Bartiromo continued to tie immigration to the bridge disaster.

“Let me get your take on what’s going on in terms of world affairs. The White House issued a statement on this saying there’s no indication of a nefarious intent in the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge. The ship involved in the collapse of the bridge is 948 feet long and called The Dali, a Singaporean-flagged container,” Bartiromo declared. “Of course, you’ve been talking a lot about wrongdoing or the potential for foul play, given the wide-open border. That is why you have been so adamant. Why have the Republicans had such a hard time securing the border? The president says he’s not going to take executive action. You know that!”

Towards the end of the interview, Bartiromo wondered whether the bridge collapse would “stoke inflation again,” adding that “it’s expensive to be transporting all of these goods and we saw what happened in the Red Sea when the ships were getting attacked.”

Over on Newsmax, meanwhile, one pundit deemed persona non grata at Fox suggested the disaster was caused by supposedly lowered employment standards brought about by COVID-19 and diversity hiring.

“You look at our critical infrastructure and I’m one of these people that believes we’ve never fully come out of all the lockdowns and the COVID issues and you can look…at our air traffic controllers where we have critical mission problems with filling slots,” American Conservation Union president Matt Schlapp said on Tuesday morning.

The CPAC organizer, who was effectively banned from Fox News following accusations of sexual assault and misconduct, went on to admit that he’s “no expert” before giving more of his opinion on the root cause of the collision.

“All I would say is that if you talk to employers in America, they'll tell you that filling slots with employees who aren't drug-addled is a very huge problem, so I'm making no specific charges here because we don't know,” he stated. “But you know anybody who flies in America can see that you're constantly waiting on a tarmac somewhere for some crew to show up. There's more maintenance problems than we've ever had, which I think are euphemisms for the problems that I’ve described.”

Elsewhere on Newsmax, Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) and the network’s hosts implied that the Biden administration's recent infrastructure bills were to blame for the collapse, claiming that not enough spending was going toward roads and bridges. According to the South Carolina lawmaker, the bill’s climate change initiatives have resulted in “rusting” bridges.

“Look at the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that was done a couple of years ago that the left hails as this massive success, but it was mostly ‘Green New Deal,’” she groused. Actually in that bill, $110 billion went to surface transportation, which is roads and bridges. And of that $110 billion, $70 billion went to public transportation, leaving only $40 billion for traditional roads and bridges, what you and I think about. And if you live along the coast or you live near water, you know that our bridges are rusting out, you know that we have many, many bridges that have to be replaced and upgraded.”

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