‘How Is That Possible?’: Martha MacCallum Presses Kirby On Why Biden Had Never Spoken To Ex-Border Patrol Chief

[Screenshot/Fox News]

Nicole Silverio Media Reporter
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Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum pressed White House National Security Communications director John Kirby on why President Joe Biden never spoke to an ex-border chief.

Biden and former President Donald Trump simultaneously visited the U.S.-Mexico border Thursday as voters prioritize immigration as their number one issue ahead of the 2024 election. Raul Ortiz, who previously served as the chief of Border Patrol for the first two years of the Biden administration, criticized the president’s handling of the crisis during a “60 Minutes” interview.

Kirby repeatedly assured that the president is “engaged” with all border agents involved with the Department of Homeland Security, despite Biden only meeting with the current chief during his visit to the border in Brownsville, Texas, on Thursday.

“You say he’s actively engaged and yet according to his former border patrol chief who spoke out on ’60 Minutes,’ Raul Ortiz. He never spoke with the president the entire time he was chief overseeing 21,000 agents or the vice president [Kamala Harris]. Given the fact that this is the number one issue for voters in every primary state we’ve covered so far, John, how is that possible?” MacCallum asked.

“Well, you saw the president down at Brownsville last week, Martha. It’s the second visit to the border, he obviously has a close relationship with Secretary [Alejandro] Mayorkas and everybody at DHS [Department of Homeland Security]. He has a chance to directly meet with border agents down there in Brownsville. This is an issue he knows is important to the American people, it’s important to him. And frankly, Martha, that’s why it was so important for the Senate to pass that bipartisan bill which included significant changes not only in border security but immigration policy and now it’s languishing because the House won’t take it up. The president’s willing to negotiate all these things and move forward —”

MacCallum repeated her question and pointed out that Biden had not met with the current Chief of Border Patrol Jason Owens until his visit to the border Thursday. (RELATED: ‘Not Answering My Question’: Martha MacCallum Gets Testy With Juan Williams As He Defends Biden’s Border Policies) 

“From what we can find out they have never spoken before that. How is that possible?” MacCallum asked.

“The president’s engaged with DHS, he’s engaged with leadership there —” Kirby began to answer.

“But why not the Border Patrol?” MacCallum interjected.

“He’s engaged with the Border Patrol, Martha, he was just down there in Brownsville meeting and talking with those folks directly and hearing about the situation on the ground,” Kirby said.

“But he never met with the former or current chief. The current chief he just met, he’s been president for three years, [he] just met him the other day,” the Fox News host argued.

“He, again, is engaged with everybody in DHS, including Border Patrol, down there in Brownsville talking to them on the ground, hearing from them directly about what their concerns are,” Kirby said.

A Gallup poll found immigration to be the most important problem among its respondents. A total of 28% of respondents said immigration was the most important problem facing the U.S. in February, while the government came in second with 20%. This is the first time since 2019 that immigration sprung to being the most prioritized issue.

Border Patrol agents have apprehended record-high numbers of illegal immigrants crossing the border ever since Biden took office in January 2021. Apprehensions exceeded 1.7 million in Biden’s first year and surpassed 2 million in the 2022 and 2023 fiscal years, and over 301,000 were apprehended in the month of December 2023 alone, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

A total of 400,651 migrants were apprehended at the southern border in the 2020 fiscal year, the final year of the Trump administration, according to Statista.