Thursday, July 25, 2024

Creator of immigration chart that ‘saved’ Trump’s life from would-be assassin credits ‘providence’


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EXCLUSIVE: The man who helped create the now-infamous immigration chart that former President Trump credits, in part, to saving his life last weekend during the failed assassination attempt said the “bulletproof” visual was one of several hundreds he has made over the last few years. 

Like many others who observed Trump moving his head in a millisecond to look at the chart as the bullet pierced through his right ear, Patrick McIlheran, director of policy at the Badger Institute, called it nothing short of providential.

“You got to think there’s a lot of providence going into this, or that turn of the head, and so forth,” McIlheran told  Fox News Digital in an interview. “It’s oftentimes hard to get people to pay attention to graphs. It’s important stuff, it’s a it’s a key topic and, boy, you wish people would take a look at it. Well, this particular twist on the story makes sure that everybody’s looking at that graph.”


Republican presidential nominee and former U.S. President Donald Trump gives his acceptance speech as the turnout coat and helmet of former Buffalo Township Volunteer Fire Department chief Corey Comperatore, who was killed at his rally last week, is displayed along with the chart that was being shown at the rally, on Day 4 of the Republican National Convention (RNC), at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, July 18, 2024.  (Reuters/Mike Segar)

“I’m glad about that,” McIlheran continued. “Senator Johnson’s numbers deserve attention. If it happens by a twist of fate to have saved us from a terrible crisis, then all the better.”

McIlheran – who called it a “team effort” – first drafted the graph for Sen. Ron Johnson’s office when he worked in his office for more than a decade. He said Johnson’s office still uses the graph, which tracks border patrol apprehensions along the southwest border, and updates it on a monthly basis. The Trump-Vance team also puts in its own additions to the graph. 

When asked what he would say to the former president about the chart’s role in the attempted assassination, McIlheran said: “Ron Johnson’s numbers will save your life. Keep that in mind.”

On Saturday, July 13, the gunman, identified as 20-year-old Thomas Matthew Crooks, opened fire targeting Trump’s head at his Butler, Pennsylvania, rally. The bullet narrowly missed Trump as he turned to look at the immigration graph on one of the screens. Instead, the bullet grazed his right ear. Crooks fired off several more rounds, wounding two others and killing 50-year-old former fire chief, Corey Comperatore, before being killed by a Secret Service sniper.

McIlheran said as he watched video clips of the attempted assassination, he realized Trump was “talking about something over on the screen.”


Donald Trump speaks at RNC with immigration chart on jumbo screens behind him

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump, refers to charts about immigration while speaking during the Republican National Convention, Thursday, July 18, 2024, in Milwaukee.  (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson)

“And then you’re seeing the stills as he was turned, and you realize, holy buckets – that’s Ron Johnson’s graph,” he said. “It was kind of like, holy cow – that’s that beloved old graph.”

On the last night of the Republican National Convention (RNC) Thursday night, Trump – who delivered his first major speech since the attempted assassination – referenced the chart as he talked about illegal immigration.

“Less than four years ago, I handed this administration the strongest border in American history, but you can see on the chart that saved my life … that was the chart that saved my life,” Trump said as the chart was put up on the screen behind him.

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

Donald Trump at RNC with right fist up in air

Former President Donald Trump arrives at the Republican National Convention (RNC) at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on Wednesday, July 17, 2024.  (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Trump told the audience how proud he was of the chart, noting that it showed a dive in illegal crossings under his administration before a spike in crossings over the last few years.

“Oh there it is, that’s pretty good, wow,” Trump said after noticing the chart was now on the screen at the RNC. “Last time I put up that chart, I never really got to look at it. Without this chart, I would not be here today.”

Trump also paid tribute to Comperatore and the two wounded – David Dutch and James Copenhaver – during his remarks Thursday, calling those injured men “great warriors.”

Fox News Digital’s Michael Lee contributed to this report.

Get the latest updates on the ongoing border crisis from the Fox News Digital immigration hub.

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