CNN anchor Jake Tapper challenged Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas directly on the imminent investigation into CBP’s horse patrol.
Mayorkas joined Sunday morning’s broadcast of “State of the Union,” and Tapper asked whether an independent investigation would even be possible after President Joe Biden and a number of prominent Democrats had already weighed in on viral photos of CBP agents on horseback interacting with migrants in Del Rio, Texas. (RELATED: ‘It Makes Me Sick!’: Dana Perino Blasts Biden Admin For Blaming Border Patrol When Their Policies Created Chaos)
Tapper began by noting Biden’s response to photos and video of agents on horseback attempting to drive back Haitian migrants who were on foot.
“I promise you, those people will pay. They will be – investigation under way now and there will be consequences. There will be consequences,” Biden said.
Tapper then pointed out that Mayorkas had promised an independent investigation but had also said the images “horrified us.”
“How can DHS claim to have an independent investigation into these Border Patrol agents when the president says ‘those people will pay’ and you say the images ‘horrified us’?” Tapper asked.
“Jake, I think it’s quite clear that what the images suggest horrified the American public,” Mayorkas replied, going on to argue that facts rather than public perception would be what determined the outcome of the investigation.
“What those images suggest, what they appeared to portray was horrifying, and that I think deserves attention,” Mayorkas repeated, adding, “That is quite different than fact determinations and I will tell you, I served as a federal prosecutor for 12 years, and we conducted independent investigations despite what appearances might have been and the public outcry about them.”
“But that’s the thing. Some of the initial descriptions of those images were just patently false,” Tapper pressed. “There’s now video out there that provides more context. Having seen the video, are you certain that there was actually wrongdoing?”
“I am going to let those investigators make that determination, and then that determination will drive the outcome of the investigation,” Mayorkas said again.
“Can the Border Patrol count on you and President Biden, who has said the people ‘will pay,’ to come to a determination based on the facts and not based on Twitter outrage?” Tapper asked.
Mayorkas said that CBP could count on him to make sure the investigation was fair and based in fact, and went on to note the heroism he had often seen while working alongside Border Patrol agents in recent days.
“Commitment to the country and talent and tireless dedication to mission,” Mayorkas continued. “I’m incredibly proud to work alongside them.”
“The nice words you said about them, you should probably share with President Biden, not just with me today,” Tapper pushed back as he ended the interview.
“Jake, the president has echoed my sentiments many times to the men and women of CBP,” Mayorkas replied.