Top presidential adviser Cecilia Muñoz appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Wednesday morning to address criticisms of President Obama’s immigration policy but continuously struggled to give straight answers to the hosts’ questions.
Before Muñoz’s interview, Democratic Rep. Henry Cuella of Texas spoke to the “Morning Joe” hosts. Cuella made headlines earlier this week for saying that President Obama’s decision not to visit the border could become his “Katrina moment.”
When host Joe Scarborough asked if that comparison was fair, Muñoz uncomfortably replied, “So, I think it is … uh. It doesn’t make sense to compare this to a natural disaster. This is a humanitarian crisis.”
Time magazine’s Mark Halperin next asked Muñoz if the Obama administration has effectively dealt with the crisis at the border.
Muñoz, assistant to the president and director of the Domestic Policy Council, avoided directly answering him: “Well, so, we’ve done multiple things.” She then proceeded to detail the lengthy process of deportation.
Muñoz then faced questions about Mexico’s shared responsibility in the crisis. Scarborough expressed his confusion about how so many children can make the journey from Central America to the U.S. border without being stopped in Mexico. “It is a pretty long bus ride. I just don’t understand it,” he said.
“First and foremost, this is a dangerous situation for kids,” Muñoz responded and implored Scarborough to look at the situation from “that perspective.”
“If it is so dangerous and such a horrible situation, which it is, why isn’t the president going down there?” Scarborough demanded.
Muñoz defended Obama by saying that Obama is meeting with community and faith leaders during his fundraising trip to Texas this week.
“Look, there are people trying to turn this situation political football,” she explained. “I understand that. I work in Washington. The president is going to stay focused on what works here.”
Scarborough pointed out that Cuellar is a Democrat. “Why would a Democrat that represents the majority Democratic district, who understands the situation better than anybody else, be trying to turn this into a political football?”
“Look, that’s a great question for you to be asking somebody else. What I can tell you is that the president of the United States is going to stay focused on what is going to have impact. These are kids that we are talking about and families, and we are approaching it from that perspective,” Muñoz concluded at the end of the interview.