A visible annoyed President Biden had two words for a reporter on Thursday who confronted him on living conditions for unaccompanied minors at the U.S. souther border with Mexico: “Come on.”
The commander in chief bristled when Cecilia Vega of ABC News recounted her eye-witness experience at a Customs and Border Protection facility bursting with bodies beyond its capacity.
“There are kids that are sleeping on floors, they are packed into these pods,” Ms. Vega said after noting the building was at 1556% capacity. “I’ve spoken to lawyers who say that some of these children have not seen the sun in days. What is your reaction to these images that have come out from that particular facility? Is what’s happening inside acceptable to you? And when is this going to be fixed?”
Mr. Biden, whose administration has insisted for weeks that no crisis exists at the border, winced at the inquiry.
“That’s a serious question, right?” the Democrat asked. “If it’s acceptable to me? Come on.”
The president then said his administration was focused on “quickly” moving thousands of children to other locations.
“That’s why I got Fort Bliss opened up,” he said. “That’s why I’ve been working from the moment this started to happen to try to find additional access for children to be able to safely — not just children, but particularly children — to be able to safely be housed while we follow through on the rest of what’s happening. That is totally unacceptable.”
The testy exchange comes just days after White House press secretary Jen Psaki insisted to reporters that “circumstance” was a more apt description of reality at the border.
“Children presenting themselves at our border who are fleeing violence, who are fleeing prosecution, terrible situations, is not a crisis,” Ms. Psaki said Monday. “We feel it is our responsibility to humanely approach this circumstance.”