Karine Jean-Pierre nixes Ted Cruz’s border invite

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre haughtily declared Tuesday that she would not be “lectured” by Republicans on border security after publicly turning down an invitation from Sen. Ted Cruz to see migrants walking across the US-Mexico frontier for herself.

The Texas Republican attacked Jean-Pierre on his “Verdict with Ted Cruz” podcast over the weekend after the president’s chief spokesperson told reporters on Aug. 29: “It’s not just that people are walking across the border.”

“There are two and only two possibilities,” Cruz told co-host, Michael Knowles. “Either she is deliberately ignorant — she has no idea what’s happening at the border — or she’s deliberately lying. There’s not a third possibility. It is one or the other.

“So, I’m gonna make an invitation right now to Karine Jean-Pierre,” Cruz added. “If you believe it’s not happening that people are walking across the border, Karine, I invite you, come to Texas. Come to the Rio Grande Valley, spend one hour on the border, and I promise you, you and I will see dozens, if not hundreds, of people walking across the border.

A picture of Senator Ted Cruz.
Sen. Ted Cruz publicly White House Press Secretary Jean-Pierre to visit and watch people cross the border in Texas.
Getty Images

“You can pick any damn hour of the day you want,” the senator went on. “You can come at 2 in the morning, you can come at noon. You will see them coming because they are coming every single hour.”

When asked by a reporter to respond to Cruz Tuesday, Jean-Pierre answered: “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 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​,” she added.​ “​And I certainly won’t take advice on the border from anyone who voted against securing [a] record level of funding for the Department of Homeland Security​.”

Cruz did not directly respond to Jean-Pierre Tuesday but tweeted: “President Biden is in denial that there is an ongoing humanitarian crisis at the border that he created” while linking to a story about migrants drowning while attempting to cross the Rio Grande.

Migrants crossing the Rio Grande River.
Migrants crossing the Rio Grande River into Roma, Texas, looking for asylum.

Image of migrants crossing the Rio Grande River.
Migrants mostly from Venezuela and Cuba cross the Rio Grande River from Mexico into the US.

A photo of Karine Jean-Pierre.
“I’ve been to the border. … I stood outside facilities where the Trump administration was separating families, tearing babies out of their mother’s arms …” Jean-Pierre said.
AFP via Getty Images

Jean-Pierre sparked the controversy last week when she was asked by Fox News’ Peter Doocy why unvaccinated tennis star Novak Djokovic could not enter America to play in the US Open tennis tournament while unvaccinated migrants arrive from Mexico by the thousands.

“It is not that simple,” the press secretary said. “It’s not just that people are walking across the border. We have a plan in place. This is not like switching the lights on. ​T​his is going to take a process.”

Cruz wasn’t the only Republican to call out Jean-Pierre for her comments.

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) sent a letter to the White House last week suggesting that she and President Biden both make a sojourn to the border region to see for themselves the consequences of the administration’s policies. 

“Since President Biden has assumed the Oval Office, nearly 5 million illegal aliens have been encountered at the southern border – many of whom have been released into the country without a known vaccination status,” he wrote in the Sept. 1 missive.

“I represent a border state and serve as the Congressional Border Security Caucus co-chair. I have decades’ worth of experience examining border and immigration issues,” he continued. “I strongly believe that a single border visit would enhance your knowledge on this self-inflicted crisis.”

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