Former Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard said the president was wrong to condemn border agents accused of whipping Haitian immigrants—which was eventually confirmed not to be the case—and that he should apologize to the American people, The Blaze reported.
In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, Sept. 26, Gabbard, former representative for the state of Hawaii, chastised President Biden for publicly condemning border agents in Del Rio, Texas, after media published a photo of them restraining Haitian immigrants attempting to cross the border with a whip used to handle horses.
“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.
After the photo and some videos circulated on social media and in some mainstream media, Biden stated according to the BBC:
“It was horrible to see, to see people treated like they did, with horses nearly running them over. People being strapped. It’s outrageous. I promise you those people will pay. They will be investigated. There will be consequence.”
Days earlier, on Sept. 23, press Secretary Jen Psaki announced that the government had decided to ban the use of horses at the border as a measure against alleged abuse by border agents.
But on Sept. 24, Paul Ratjie, the photographer who captured the moment border agents dealt with Haitian immigrants trying to cross the border illegally, said he never saw any agents use their whips to beat the immigrants.
“Some of the Haitian men started running, trying to go around the horses,” Ratjie explained. “That’s kind of when the whole thing happened. I didn’t ever see them whip anybody. … He was swinging it, but I didn’t see them actually whip someone with it. … That’s something that can be easily misconstrued when you’re looking at the picture.”
Although the facts behind the photos were not verified, senior Biden administration officials, including Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Vice President Kamala Harris, also publicly condemned the border agents.
Some Democratic representatives even compared the scenario to the era of slavery in the United States.
Mayorkas said, “I too was horrified by the images captured by photographers with respect to the activities of Border Patrol agents of horseback. We do not condone. We do not tolerate any mistreatment of any migrant. What we did is we directed an immediate investigation of the events captured in the photographs and on video.”
Kamala Harris opined: “Human beings should not be treated that way. As we all know, it also evoked images of some of the worst moments of our history where that kind of behavior has been used against the ingenious people of our country. It has used against African-Americans in times of slavery.”
What Tulsi Gabbard said
The Hawaii Democrat explained that the president’s handling of the situation went against the principles of a democratic nation that presumes someone’s innocence until proven guilty and called Biden an autocrat.
“He’s somebody who’s been very outspoken as being against autocrats, autocracies, dictators. But what he essentially did was act as judge, jury, and executioner for these Customs and Border Patrol agents on horseback,” Gabbard said.
“How can they expect to have a fair outcome to an investigation when the president of the United States has already declared their guilt and that they will be punished?” questioned Gabbard.
“The bigger issue 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,” she explained.
“And that’s the increasing feeling that a lot of us have is we are losing our democracy and moving closer and closer to what essentially is an autocracy.”