EXCLUSIVE: President Biden on Friday left Border Patrol agents stunned after repeating debunked claims that Del Rio agents whipped or "strapped" Haitian migrants, while promising to make those agents "pay."
Biden weighed in on the controversy over images that emerged Sunday of agents on horseback blocking Haitian migrants from entering the U. S.
Claims that agents, who were using long reins to control their horses, were using "whips" were quickly debunked by officials and other agents – but activists and elected Democrats have continued to fuel it. The photographer who took the images said Friday he did not see any agents whipping migrants.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas had pushed back against the narrative alongside Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz, but a day later – after the White House had called the images "horrific" – went on CNN and said the images "troubled me profoundly" before adding that "one cannot weaponize a horse" against migrants.
On Friday, amid an ongoing investigation into the agents – who have now been shifted to desk duty – and a day after the Biden administration barred the use of horses in Del Rio, the president tore into those agents.
"To see people treated like they did, horses barely running over, people being strapped – it's outrageous," Biden said, making a whipping motion with his hand. "I promise you, those people will pay. There will be an investigation underway now and there will be consequences. There will be consequences."
Border Patrol agents were stunned and angered by the comments, which both claimed without evidence that migrants were run over and whipped, and at the same time cast a shadow over the investigation.
"Would you go to work and do your best knowing that if you do your boss is going to ‘make you pay’?" one agent told Fox News. "I'm dumbfounded and don't know what to say."
The agent asked, "Is the president threatening to throw us in prison?"
Another said: "I see the administration wants to fry our agents. He just started a war with Border Patrol."
Brandon Judd, head of the National Border Patrol Council, asked how there could be a fair investigation now that Biden had weighed in.
"Now that the president of the United States has already said they did wrong, how is an investigator supposed to do a true and honest investigation?" he told Fox News. "Because if that investigator finds they did nothing wrong -- and they didn’t do anything wrong -- but if that investigator finds they didn’t do anything wrong, how is that investigator’s job going to go?
Judd said Biden’s comments were "completely and totally outrageous" and accused Biden of "playing politics with Border Patrol agents' lives."
Judd again backed the agents at the center of the investigation and noted that they were doing the job they were tasked with doing by the same president who was now throwing them under the bus.
"Nobody was struck by a rein, not one person was struck by a rein, not one person was run over by those horses. They used the tactics they were trained to use, to do the job [Biden] sent them out to do -- these are executive branch employees," he said. "He sent them out there to do the job, and now he's criticizing them because his base wants them to."
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Submitted 29 days ago