Rep. Ayanna Pressley: 'No doubt about it, our border is secure'

I’m pretty sure this discussion didn’t go they way Rep. Ayanna Pressley hoped it would go. It certainly didn’t make her look very competent.

CNN’s Jake Tapper had squad member Pressley on his show yesterday to talk about the looming government shutdown. That discussion then transitioned into one about border security because, as Tapper noted, the Senate compromise bill doesn’t contain funding for border security. Tapper noted that there definitely was a crisis at the border saying, “More than 7.7 million people have fled Venezuela; there’s no sign this is slowing down. Do you agree that something needs to be done about our border?” Tapper then pointed to the busloads of migrants being sent to blue cities by southern governors.


Pressley said she disagreed with using people “as political pawns” and that’s when she went off the rails. “No doubt about it, our border is secure and we are in the midst of a humanitarian crisis,” she said. You can actually see a moment of surprise on Tapper’s face when she says this and then he seems to be uncertain if he heard her correctly.

“You think the border is secure or it is not secure?” Tapper asked.

Pressley then went into a dodge of an answer about needing more federal support for the humanitarian crisis at the border, which wasn’t what Tapper asked. After filibustering for a while, she tried to shrug it off saying “That is a conversation for another day.”

Tapper wasn’t willing to let it go: “Do you think the border is secure? Is that what you said?”

“Yes the border is secure and we are in the midst of a humanitarian crisis that has been created by a broken system,” Pressley replied, essentially repeating the same jumble of talking points. She tried to refocus the discussion on the government shutdown but again Tapper wouldn’t let it go.

“If you have millions of undocumented migrants coming into the country, how is the border secure?” he pressed.

And Pressley just didn’t have an answer. After a beat she said it was not a new crisis and required more political will and then she went into another non-responsive answer.


“I’m not disagreeing with anything you’re saying except for the idea that the border’s secure,” Tapper replied. He added, “If you have people crossing the border it’s just by definition not secure.” Tapper then points out that an argument for greater border security is that it would present less of a temptation to those thinking about making the several thousand mile journey in the first place. “It just seems like such a refusal to acknowledge reality just to say the border is secure when we all know millions of people are crossing the border illegally every year,” he concluded.

Pressley finally tried to engage the question, at least a little, by pointing to climate change and violence as things driving people from their homes. In essence she was willing to talk about the push factors but not the pull factors such as the porous border Tapper had just mentioned. He agreed several times saying this was all true and yet, she was still dodging his point that it seems pretty silly to claim the border is secure.

Tapper tried one more time, asking if she’s grant that the border is not in fact secure. “Jake, that is a conversation for another day,” Pressley replied. In other words, no she would not admit the obvious, she would only spin and repeat her talking points even when they clearly don’t make sense.


Kudos to Tapper for sticking with it. I only wish he could press a few members of the Biden administration, maybe even Joe Biden himself, on this same point. I think the exchange would be pretty revealing about how far the White House is from reality on this issue.

Here’s the full video of the interview cued up to the transition to discussing the border crisis.


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