Michigan Republican Rep. Matt Maddock mistakes NCAA basketball teams for “illegal invaders” at Detroit Metro Airport

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(CBS DETROIT) – Michigan Rep. Matt Maddock posted on X, claiming that buses were loading with “illegal invaders” at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport. But airport officials say it was college basketball players who arrived for the Sweet 16 games on Friday at Little Ceasars Arena.

The Republican lawmaker posted at about 8:20 p.m. Wednesday with pictures of the three buses outside of the airport. In his post, Maddock said, “Happening right now. Three buses just loaded up with illegal invaders at Detroit Metro. Anyone have any idea where they’re headed with their police escort?”

However, a spokesperson with the Wayne County Airport Authority sent a statement to CBS News Detroit, saying, “The four men’s basketball teams competing in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 at Little Caesars Arena arrived at DTW Wednesday evening. The buses seen in a photograph circulating online were transporting the basketball teams and their respective staffs.”

Detroit is hosting two games Friday at Little Caesars Arena for the third rounds of the tournament. Teams who will be playing in the Motor City are Creighton vs. Tennessee and Gonzaga vs. Purdue.

In his post, Maddock tagged Michigan Republican Party Chair Pete Hoekstra, who has not yet returned CBS News Detroit’s request for comment at the time this article was published.

Sam Inglot, executive director of Progress Michigan, called out Maddock for using “dangerous rhetoric” while “spreading misinformation.”

“Maddock and so many Republicans across the country are carelessly using militaristic language to describe an already-marginalized group of people. This type of dehumanization inevitably leads to violence and we cannot let Republicans get away with using it to divide our communities and put people in danger,” Inglot said.

The Michigan Democratic Party issued the following statement:

“Is this how Donald Trump suggested the MIGOP engage people of color in Michigan? These racist social media posts are more disgusting examples of how bigotry has rotted the Michigan Republican Party from top to bottom – they can’t look at a basketball team without going into a conspiracy-fueled frenzy. And it’s not just the so-called fringe members – everyone from Pete Hoekstra to Matt Hall is clearly susceptible to these extreme views as they continue to carry water for Trump’s MAGA agenda here in Michigan.”