Biden didn’t prejudge mounted Border Patrol agents when he said ‘they’ll pay’
President Joe Biden hasn’t derailed an investigation into mounted Border Patrol agents seen pursuing Haitian migrants who had illegally crossed the southern border.
“The president was not prejudging the outcome of the investigation,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Friday. “The president was responding from his heart and responding to seeing horrific photos.”
Psaki said she doubted whether “anyone” who saw those photos would not “have a similar reaction to the president.” She described Biden’s response as “very human and visceral.”
“There is an investigation the Department of Homeland Security is overseeing that will determine what the personnel decisions may be, any other policy decisions, and that needs to see itself through,” she said. “The president wanted to make clear to people who watched those photos, who had understandably emotional responses, that that’s not acceptable to him.”
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas repeated that he was “not concerned with respect to the integrity of the investigation” when he preceded Psaki at the podium.
“We know how to conduct an investigation,” he said. “We have investigators who are looking at it independently. They will draw their conclusions, according to standard operating procedures, and then the results of that investigation will be determined by the facts.”
Biden said earlier Friday that the Border Patrol agents seen in photos chasing migrants on horseback near Del Rio, Texas, were “wrong” and “will pay.” The agents have been placed on leave, pending the Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility investigation into their aggressive tactics, after allegations they had “whipped” migrants with their horse reins.
“There will be consequences. It’s an embarrassment. But beyond an embarrassment, it’s dangerous. It’s wrong,” Biden told reporters.
Paul Ratje, the photographer who took the photos, has disputed the whipping accusations, saying his images have been “misconstrued.”
“I’ve never seen them whip anyone,” Ratje said. “He was swinging it, but it can be misconstrued when you’re looking at the picture.”
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Original Author: Naomi Lim