‘Let’s Be Sensitive Here’: KJP Defends Misleading White House Statement Blaming Texas For Migrant Deaths

[Screenshot/White House press briefing]

Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
Font Size:

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre defended a misleading statement by the White House that blamed Texas for the death of three migrants.

The White House and the Department of Justice (DOJ) attempted to blame the death of a migrant woman and two children on Texas by arguing state officials “physically barred” Border Patrol agents from accessing the Shelby Park area in Eagle Pass, Texas. The Justice Department said in a Supreme Court filing the migrants died before Border Patrol agents tried accessing the area.

Fox News White House correspondent Jacqui Heinrich asked whether the White House intends to “amend” its statements about the migrants’ deaths and accusations about Republicans’ attempts to slash the number of Border Patrol agents.

“Will the administration then amend its separate statement that implied that Texas officials were responsible for the deaths of three migrants when, in fact, they had nothing to do with it?” Heinrich began. “They had already been dead for an hour before Mexico told anyone in the U.S. about it, and the administration admitted as such in their court filing. They acknowledge that in their court filing, that statement from the White House that Texas was responsible and a number of outlets were forced to issue corrections and editor’s notes because of that White House statement. So will the White House amend that statement?”

“So let’s be sensitive here. Three people died,” the press secretary replied. “Three migrants died, two children and a woman. That was devastating. That was a devastating situation, heartbreaking situation, so let’s be really mindful of what we’re talking about here.”

She repeated the White House’s claim about Texas officials blocking access to the migrants’ whereabouts, and argued the White House’s statement on the matter was “consistent” with the DOJ’s filing about the “ongoing emergency situation.” (RELATED: Karine Jean-Pierre Asserts Biden Is ‘Stopping The Flow’ Of Illegal Migrants At The Border) 

“But the ongoing emergency situation was separate. The White House statement says that ‘Texas officials blocked U.S. Border Patrol from attempting to provide emergency assistance,’ Heinrich said.

“There were other migrants in the water,” Jean-Pierre said.

“Then why wouldn’t that be included in the statement if that was what you were referring to?” Heinrich continued.

Jean-Pierre argued the statement was “consistent” with the DOJ filing and referred Heinrich to the agency for any further information.

Heinrich asked if the White House would correct a statement accusing Republicans of attempting to slash 2,000 Border Patrol agents by passing the Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023. The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler explained the White House failed to mention that the House passed an appropriations bill that increased the number of agents up from 20,000 to 22,000.

Jean-Pierre accused House Republicans of “getting in the way” of the administration attempting to secure the border.