White House press secretary Jen Psaki repeatedly declined to apologize for the Biden administration when confronted on Monday over claims that smeared mounted Border Patrol agents.
What is the background?
The Department of Homeland Security launched an investigation into mounted Border Patrol agents last year after they were falsely accused of “whipping” Haitian migrants.
As outraged boiled over, President Joe Biden accused the agents of “nearly running people” over with their horses, promising the agents “will pay” for the “outrageous” incident. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas even claimed that images of Border Patrol agents corralling migrants “conjured up the worst elements of our nation’s ongoing battle against systemic racism.”
Despite promising the investigation would be swift, officials have said nothing publicly about the probe.
However, National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd said the Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Personal Responsibility has completed its investigation, drafting a 500-page report on the incident. According to Judd, the investigation cleared the agents of criminal wrongdoing, though they could still lose their jobs.
What did Psaki say?
Considering the likely outcome of the investigation, Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy asked a blunt question at Monday’s press briefing, but Psaki repeatedly deflected.
“When is the president going to apologize to them?” Doocy asked.
“There is a process and an investigation that’s gone to the Department of Homeland Security. I don’t have any update on that,” she responded.
Doocy followed up by repeating Biden’s accusations, which he noted “would be a criminal offense.” Thus, if the agents are not going to be criminally charged, Doocy tried to ask again when Biden will apologize — but Psaki interrupted him.
“And there was an investigation into that. And I’ll let the Department of Homeland Security announce any conclusion of that investigation,” she interjected.
Doocy then turned the tables on Psaki.
“You accused these officers of brutal and inappropriate measures,” he began. “Now that they’ve been told they will not be criminally charged, will you apologize to them?”
But Psaki again refused to apologize or acknowledge anything apart from the existence of the investigation.
“Peter, there was an investigation into their behavior, so that investigation is playing out. Whenever it’s going to be announced, the Department of Homeland Security will announce that. And then I’m sure we’ll have a comment on it after that,” Psaki said.
04/18/22: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jen Psaki