Tulsi Gabbard, a former Democratic congresswoman from Hawaii, said on Saturday she is getting an “increasing feeling” that Americans are in danger of “losing our democracy” following a series of border crises that culminated last week in Del Rio, Texas.
In a “Watters’ World” segment with Fox News’ Jesse Watters, Gabbard agreed that the Biden administration’s characterization of U.S. Border Patrol agents on horseback “whipping” Haitian migrants is false while pushing back on President Joe Biden’s threat to make those agents “pay.”
“I consider Joe Biden a friend, but he’s absolutely wrong, and he needs to apologize to the American people for saying what he said,” Gabbard said.
On Friday in response to now-debunked claims that the agents were using the reins of their horses to ‘whip’ migrants, Biden pledged to make agents “pay.”
“To see people treated like they did, horses barely running over, people being strapped – it’s outrageous,” Biden said. “I promise you, those people will pay. There will be an investigation underway now and there will be consequences. There will be consequences.”
The comments outraged Border Patrol agents and Republicans who have been highly critical of Biden’s immigration policies; Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas went on to announce that the use of horses by agents would be suspended in the Del Rio Sector.
NEW: The photographer who took the now infamous photos of mounted Border Patrol agents in Del Rio says he and his colleagues never saw agents whipping anyone and the photos are being misconstrued.
However, the false narrative is off and running. @FoxNews https://t.co/scwhoqOqYS
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) September 24, 2021
Gabbard went on to say that Biden has historically been “very outspoken against autocrats, autocracies, dictators.”
“But what he essentially did was act as judge, jury, and executioner for these Customs and Border Patrol agents,” Gabbard continued. “How can they expect to have any kind of fair outcome to an investigation when the president of the United States has already declared their guilt and that they will be punished?
“And the bigger issue here that this points to — which is one that we all need to be concerned about — is that if we are no longer a country of laws, if we are no longer a country where we know we will be presumed innocent unless proven guilty, then we don’t have a democracy. That’s the increasing feeling that a lot of us have, that we are losing our democracy and moving closer and closer to what essentially is an autocracy,” the former Hawaii lawmaker, who is a current National Guard officer in her state, added.
In interviews with Fox News on Friday following Biden’s comments, some Border Patrol agents expressed concerns as well as frustration and outrage.
“Would you go to work and do your best knowing that if you do your boss is going to ‘make you pay’?” one agent told the outlet, noting further: “I’m dumbfounded and don’t know what to say.”
“Is the president threatening to throw us in prison?” another agent asked.
Said another: “I see the administration wants to fry our agents. He just started a war with Border Patrol.”
Continuing, Watters accused Biden and Democrats of perpetuating the same “hoax” narrative regarding the Border Patrol as they have against police officers and as they did in using allegations of collusion between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign and subsequent administration.
“They are getting away with it, and it’s the powerful elite working with the media, working with the deep state, not acting in the best interests of the country,” Gabbard responded. “They’re acting in their own selfish interests to preserve their power, their position, their money, or whatever their selfish drive is.”
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