White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre was blasted on Tuesday for downplaying chaos at the Mexican border, even as the nation reels from four Americans being kidnapped in Mexico.
As four Americans crossed from Brownsville, Texas, into the Mexican city of Matamoros, Tamaulipas, on Friday, their vehicle began receiving gunfire. Video from the incident showed who are presumed to be Mexican drug cartel members loading the victims into a vehicle, with two of them already appearing to have been dead or injured at the time as the attackers dragged their bodies. They were not thought to have been targets, but instead were initially caught between rival gangs’ crossfire. The White House has since referred to this crime as "unacceptable."
Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy addressed the spokeswoman at Tuesday’s press briefing and asked, "So cartels kill Americans on this side of the border with drugs, and now they're killing Americans on the other side of the border with guns. Why is President Biden so comfortable with cartels operating so close to the U.S.?"
Jean-Pierre responded by claiming that fentanyl is currently at "historic lows-historic levels" under Biden’s presidency.
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"Because of the work that this president has done, because of what we’ve done specifically on fentanyl at the border, it’s at historic lows — historic levels that we have been able to record a number of personnel working to secure the border because of what we’ve been able to do, seizing that fentanyl," Jean-Pierre said. "We’ve done it in a historic way. That’s because of what this President has done."
Doocy followed by noting that "Now Americans are being slaughtered," and asked, "Would President Biden be taking the same approach if it was al-Qaeda or ISIS operating just across the border from an American city?"
Jean-Pierre responded by claiming that Biden takes the problem "seriously" and said, "The FBI and other agencies have been on top of this from day one," before dodging a question about whether the military should get involved against heavily-armed cartels.
NewsBusters Managing Editor Curtis Houck, who shared videos of the exchange, commented "yikes" as an assessment of Jean-Pierre’s performance as the Biden Administration’s representative.
"Possible misspeak? In no way is fentanyl at ‘historic lows’. Seizures and ODs have hit record highs," Fox News national correspondent Bill Melugin tweeted. "KJP appears to be implying that record high seizures are a good thing. It’s a double edged sword. Border officials will tell you they only catch a fraction of what comes through. The seizures show cartels are pushing MASSIVE amounts of fentanyl across the border. CBP/BP do a great job stopping what they can - but fentanyl is all over the country right now."
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"Shorter KJP: We simply don’t care," Claremont Institute communications director Nick Short wrote.
Comedian and author Tim Young wrote a similar short assessment of the spokeswoman’s rhetoric, "They think you're stupid."
Heritage Foundation senior advisor for communications John Cooper mocked Jean-Pierre’s words as "fantasy land" thinking and wrote, "Karine Jean-Pierre claims that record fentanyl seizures at the border means the fentanyl crisis is actually more under control."
He also slammed her for referring to the border wall as a useless effort.
"These people are just completely out of touch with reality," he wrote. "They've obviously never talked to Border Patrol agents, who will tell you the wall is a necessary part of the toolkit."
"I'm trying to figure out which border she's referring too…" Journalist Dania Alexandrino wrote.
GOP rapid response director shredded Jean-Pierre and the Biden Administration’s credibility, "According to DEA Administrator Anne Milgram, cartels are ‘killing Americans with fentanyl at catastrophic and record rates like we've never seen before,’" he wrote. "To claim success amid this devastation is an insult to the hundreds of thousands who have lost loved ones."