‘Troubling questions’: US politician investigates Farage trip to Trump rally

A US congressman has launched an investigation after Nigel Farage apparently flew to America to attend a Donald Trump rally during the coronavirus pandemic.

Bennie G Thompson, chairman of the House of Representatives’ committee on homeland security, said the decision to allow the visit raised “numerous troubling questions” at the time of travel restrictions from the UK.

The US has barred entry to arrivals from Britain, with the exception of US citizens, their family members and “individuals who meet specified exceptions”.

Brexit Party leader Mr Farage posted a photograph of himself on Saturday with the caption: “In the USA, only twenty four hours from Tulsa” – the destination of the US president’s rally over the weekend.

In the USA, only twenty four hours from Tulsa. pic.twitter.com/9fQipWYr3a

— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) June 20, 2020

Mr Thompson said he had sent a letter to Chad Wolf, acting secretary of homeland security, requesting “all relevant documents” on the decision to “waive the travel ban for Mr Farage”.

He said: “The decision of the Trump administration to admit Mr Farage to the United States to enable him to attend a campaign rally at a time when most travel from the United Kingdom to the US has been suspended raises numerous troubling questions, as does the claim that such travel was in the national interest.”

Mr Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, said a statement provided to his staff by America’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) confirmed Mr Farage was initially denied boarding while attempting to fly from the UK to the US, due to the coronavirus travel restrictions.

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WASHINGTON - DECEMBER 16: Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS) listens to testimony from acting Transportation Security Administration Administrator, Gale Rossides during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, December 16, 2009 in Washington, DC. The Committee is hearing testimony on how a classified TSA screening manual was posted online recently. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Image:Bennie G Thompson has requested information on who approved Mr Farage’s visit

According to the congressman, the CBP said the Department of Homeland Security conducted a review and determined Mr Farage’s travel was “permissible” as his entry to the US “would be in the national interest” and he was allowed to board the flight.

In his letter to Mr Wolf, Mr Thompson has requested that the Department of Homeland Security provide “all communication” since 14 March related to Mr Farage’s trip to the US.

He also requests documents on “the individual who ultimately approved travel to the US by Mr Farage” and “the determination and justification” that the trip “was a matter of national interest”.

Sky News has contacted the Brexit Party for comment.

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Mr Farage previously appeared alongside Mr Trump to give a speech at a rally in Mississippi in August 2016 before the last US presidential election.

At the time, he spoke about his role in the campaign for Britain to leave the European Union, but stopped short of endorsing Mr Trump for president.

It was announced earlier this month that Mr Farage will no longer host his LBC Radio show which he had presented since January 2017.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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