Republican Sen. Ted Cruz doubled down on his challenge to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Tuesday after she refused an invitation to witness the border crisis first-hand.
What is the background?
Cruz, speaking on his podcast, described Jean-Pierre's claim as an "11-alarm, pants on fire" lie. Cruz said she was either "deliberately lying" or is "deliberately ignorant" about the border crisis.
On Tuesday, a reporter asked Jean-Pierre if she would take up Cruz's invitation, but she immediately rejected it. Jean-Pierre said she has been to the border before (in 2018 before the current border crisis), and used the moment to attack former President Donald Trump.
I’ve been to the border. I went in 2018. I stood outside facilities where the Trump administration was separating families, tearing babies out of their mothers’ arms. Some of those kids still haven’t been reunited with their families. And so, one thing I will say is I certainly don’t need lectures or invitations from Republicans about the border or border policies.
How did Cruz respond?
The Texas senator not only reiterated his original challenge, but upped the ante.
"I’m going to give a challenge, Karine Jean-Pierre, right now," Cruz said on Fox News. "Come to this border. Spend 60 minutes, one hour, with me and the Border Patrol union. We will encounter dozens, if not hundreds, of illegal immigrants coming across.
"And if we don’t, let’s bring the entire White House press corps, and one of two things will happen: If we don’t encounter anyone, I’ll stand up and say, 'I was wrong,'" he continued.
"But when we encounter hundreds of people crossing, do you have the courage and integrity to stand in front of the press corps you’re lying to and say, ‘I lied to you?’ That’s what an honest White House press secretary would say," Cruz asserted.
Ted Cruz Challenges Biden Press Secretary To Go To Border For 1 Hour To See Border Crisiswww.youtube.com
While top administration officials buck invitations to the southern border, President Joe Biden has not visited the border even one time since becoming president.
However, under his leadership, the U.S. has seen a record-number of migrant encounters. The crisis is so bad, in fact, that migrant encounters for fiscal year 2022 could exceed 2 million by the end of the month.
According to the Washington Post, Biden has only visited the southern border one time. That happened in 2008 when Biden "briefly drove past the border while on a campaign swing," the newspaper explained.