During her April 25th press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked about the National Guardsman that died protecting the Texas border, with a reporter saying:
Thank you, Jen. I don’t believe the White House so far has commented on the death of Bishop Evans, the 22-year-old National Guard Specialist who drowned trying to save two migrants. I wanted to give you the opportunity to say some words on that.
Psaki, in response, tried to minimize Team Biden’s failure to respond by saying it was only confirmed recently but then subtly trying to recover by calling him a hero and doing the usual political talk about dead soldiers, saying:
Yes. Thank you for that, Jacqui. And the news of the confirmation that his body had been found was confirmed just a couple of hours ago. I would note that, of course, our heart goes out to his family and to his loved ones.
To confirm all the specific details, he went missing on Friday, following his selfless efforts to rescue two migrants who appeared to be drowning who were trying to cross a river in Mexico that went to the United States — went into the U.S., of course.
We know that National Guard personnel, including — including him, risk their lives every day to serve and protect others. And again, our hearts go out to his family.
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I don’t have any — in case you may ask, I don’t have any updates at this moment in terms of the President’s outreach, but if — if that is something I can update you on this afternoon, I will let you know.
But then the reporter dug in and turned the screws on Psaki and Team Biden over the fact that the National Guardsman had to die in the first place, saying:
Does the White House feel any responsibility for his death, given that there’s reporting that he lost his life allegedly trying to save two migrants who were smuggling drugs? This is a problem that, you know, the administration has been facing for some time and is obviously, as we’ve been discussing, getting some criticism on. Is — does the White House feel at all responsible? And what — what more can you offer to people who, you know, are on the border, in border communities, who are experiencing loss and trials like this?
As you might expect, Jen wasn’t at all happy about that and quickly tried to deflect blame for the incident, saying that it was a state operation and thus that team Biden wasn’t responsible for the tragedy at the border:
Well, of course, we are mourning the loss of his life and we are grateful for the work of every National Guardsman. I would note that the National Guard worked for the states, and so he is an employee of the Tex- — Texas National Guard, and his efforts and his operation were directed by there, not by the federal government, in this — in this effort, in this apparatus.
We’ve — we’ve long stated that our immigration system is broken. There needs to be more done to invest in smarter security, to have a more effective asylum processing system. And we would welcome any efforts to — for any elected officials to work with us on that.
Still the tenacious reporter didn’t end it there. Following up, the reporter asked Psaki:
“A lot of the border communities often, you know, say that they have requested more from — from the federal government — more manpower to help manage these kinds of — these kinds of issues. Is that being looked at? Is that being — is that being —”
At that point Psaki interjected, asking “Can you give me a more specific request or a specific person or —”
The reporter then brushed off the interruption and went right back to it after Psaki and Team Biden, saying:
Well, you mentioned that, you know, this — this Specialist was a National Guard. Obviously, you know, the state is in charge of that. States are in charge of that. But there have been requests from the Texas governor, from — you know, to send more — you know, to help people who are in this position at the border, who are now trying to deal with an influx of migrants that they know is going to only increase, as you just mentioned, after Title 42 is lifted.
You talked about having a humanitarian, you know, sort of, system in place to deal with people coming across and increase vaccinations and that kind of thing. But in terms of, you know, law enforcement presence at the border.
Psaki then tried to, in an absolutely absurd statement, pin the blame on Trump for the crisis at the border, saying:
Well, I would just say — if we just dial it back a few years to, kind of, what we inherited here — the former President invested billions of dollars in a border wall that was never going to work or be effective, instead of working towards comprehensive immigration reform.
As part of the President’s proposal he put forward on his first day in office, he proposed investing in smarter security at the border — something he’d be happy to work with governors on. And — and certainly we’re open to having that conversation whenever they’re ready to do that.
Well, Governor Abbot was furious about that attempt of Psaki to say the feds weren’t responsible because it was a state operation, and he fired back when he appeared on FNC’s “Special Report,” saying:
“First, we would not have to have the National Guard on the border if the Biden administration was very simply enforcing the laws passed by the United States Congress and securing our border.
“Second, if the Biden administration merely kept in place what the Trump administration put in place, the Trump administration led to the lowest number of border crossings in decades. We are dealing with a catastrophe caused by the Biden administration.
“That said, one last point, and that is, listen, this is a tragedy for this National Guard soldier, who was a hero, by risking his own life to save the life of others. I spoke with his family and they said he is a loving man, he comes from a family that’s long been engaged in the United States military.
“They love our country. Our country demands a secured border. We need a president who will stand up and secure the border.”