On Friday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was grilled by Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy regarding the ongoing false narrative that Border Patrol agents were whipping Haitian migrants in Del Rio, a narrative echoed by President Joe Biden earlier today.
"To go back, please, to the images of these mounted border patrol officers. You said on Saturday, or rather on the 20th, 'To ensure control of the horse, long reins are used.' The person who took these photos of the Border Patrol agents says, 'I've never seen them with anyone.' So why is the president out there today talking about 'people being strapped'?" Doocy questioned.
"So, let me correct the statements in your question, if I may," said Mayorkas. He said on Monday, "when I was in Del Rio on the ground, and I made the statements without having seen the images. I saw the images on the flight back, and I made the statement that I did with respect to what those images suggested."
"The horses have long reins, and the image in the photograph that we all saw, that horrified the nation, raise serious questions about what occurred and of as I stated quite clearly, it conjured up images of what has occurred in the past," Mayorkas continued.
"There's also question of how one uses the horse and how one interacts with individuals with the horse. And so I'm going to let the investigation run its course. I'm not going to interfere with that investigation. The facts will be determined by the investigators and then the results will be driven by the facts that are determined," Mayorkas added.
"Before the facts are in, is it helpful to your investigation for the president of the United States to use inflammatory language like 'people being strapped'?" Doocy further questioned Mayorkas on the matter.
"Let me just be very clear and repeat what I've said. I am not concerned with respect to the integrity of the investigation. We know how to conduct an investigation with integrity," said Mayorkas
"I served as 12 years as a federal prosecutor. There were a great deal of comments in many of the cases that handled in the public sphere, and I know how to maintain the integrity of an investigation, and this investigation will have integrity," Mayorkas noted.
Mayorkas' response comes just moments after he echoed similar sentiments as other Biden administration officials, who said the images of the mounted Border Patrol officers were "horrifying."
"In the midst of meeting these challenges, we are an entire nation. So horrifying images that do not reflect who we are, who we aspire to be, or the integrity and values of our truly heroic personnel in the Department of Homeland Security," said Mayorkas.
"The investigation into what occurred, has not yet concluded. We know that those images painfully conjured up the worst elements of our nation's ongoing battle against systemic racism," he added.
Earlier today, President Joe Biden claimed that Border Patrol agents "strapped" the Haitian migrants during that interaction on Sunday.
"To see people treated like they did, horses barely running them over and people being strapped, it's outrageous," said Biden. "I promise you that those people will pay."
Also on Friday, the photojournalist that took the photos in question set the record straight on what he witnessed that day.
"I didn't ever see them whip anyone with the thing," photographer Paul Ratje said. "He was swinging it, but I didn't see him actually whip someone with it. Those definitely can be misconstrued when you're looking at the picture."