Despite viral claims amplified by the White House, Democrats, and the corporate media, the idea that Border Patrol agents were “whipping” Haitian migrants at the Southern U.S. border turned out to be a lie.
The photographer who took the viral photos that were circulated to further the false narrative admitted on Friday that he never saw Border Patrol use the leather against anyone.
“I’ve never seen them whip anyone,” Paul Ratje told KTSM. “He was swinging it, but it can be misconstrued when you’re looking at the picture.”
This isn’t the first time that people with platforms have rushed to push an agenda without checking all of the facts and it won’t be the last. Here are all the people who spread the lie that mounted border agents ‘whipped’ illegal aliens.
The Biden Administration
The biggest culprits of this border lie are President Joe Biden, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, and others in the Biden administration who spent the last week condemning and even dismounting Border Patrol over the false whipping allegations.
As late as Friday morning, the president and the White House blamed the border agency for the “outrageous” treatment of Haitian migrants in Del Rio, Texas.
Biden on the lie that border patrol were using whips on illegal immigrants at the border:
"To see people treated like they did? Horses running them over? People being strapped? It's outrageous. I promise you, those people will pay." pic.twitter.com/Jx79KoYTy9
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) September 24, 2021
Earlier in the week, Psaki admitted that she didn’t “have the full context” of the situation but still called the footage “horrible to watch.”
“I have seen some of the footage. I don’t have the full context. I can’t imagine what context would make that appropriate, but I don’t have additional details,” she said. “I don’t think anyone seeing that footage would think it’s acceptable or appropriate.”
Even Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who previously said that Border Patrol agents were not whipping Haitian migrants who illegally crossed the border into the United States, later claimed that he was “horrified by what I saw” and promised an investigation into the alleged incident.
Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters was quick to jump on the “whip” bandwagon. In addition to sounding off on Twitter about Haitian migrants “being treated like animals” by the U.S. government, she claimed that “cowboy” agents “were running down Haitians and using their reins to whip them.”
Again, *zero* evidence that any of the border patrol agents had whips much less used them. But the narrative is off and running pic.twitter.com/MQQO26g9QY
— Peter J. Hasson (@peterjhasson) September 21, 2021
"I’m unhappy, and I'm not just unhappy with the cowboys who were running down Haitians and using their reins to whip them. I'm unhappy with this administration," Rep. Maxine Waters says at a news conference on the situation at the U.S. southern border. https://t.co/tUeqoESHTP pic.twitter.com/BuWTMs8ilf
— ABC News (@ABC) September 22, 2021
Squad member Rep. Rashida Tlaib furthered the narrative by claiming that Border Patrol committed “human rights abuses” by “cracking a f-cking whip on Haitians fleeing hardship.”
This is so sick and @CBP will continue to commit human rights abuses if we don't stop it now.
Cracking a fucking whip on Haitians fleeing hardship shows you that this system simply can't be reformed. @OversightDems + @HouseJudiciary should hold hearings immediately + act. https://t.co/RLsG3EY6Fw
— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) September 20, 2021
Another Squad member, Rep. Ilhan Omar, called the pictures “cruel” and “inhumane” and repeated the claim that the U.S. government is denying illegal aliens human rights.
'What we've seen was cruel, inhumane': Rep. Omar addresses pictures that appear to show a Border Patrol agent on horseback with a whip to deter migrants pic.twitter.com/ouyuAzRwFu
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) September 21, 2021
“Use of whips on refugees? Disturbing and unacceptable. This must end immediately,” Democrat Sen. Jeff Merkley tweeted.
Use of whips on refugees? Disturbing and unacceptable. This must end immediately. https://t.co/C28fk2QFqL
— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) September 20, 2021
The Corporate Media
It wasn’t long after the photos and footage first started circulating that media grifters such as Joy Reid adopted speculations on border agents’ treatment of migrants as fact and even suggested that “whips which come from the slave era, slavery era, were part of the package that we issue to any sort of law enforcement or government sanction personnel.”
That same angle was amplified by a Democrat candidate in Florida who said “asylum seekers [are] being hunted down like runaway slaves on a plantation by whip cracking cowboys.”
Asylum seekers being hunted down like runaway slaves on a plantation by whip cracking cowboys should make every decent Americans blood boil. If it doesn’t, you are what’s wrong with America. This will not be America’s future, not on my watch. @POTUS end this now! pic.twitter.com/C8RDkrjtGI
— Allen Ellison Democrat for US Senate Florida (@AllenLEllison) September 21, 2021
Other outlets tried to cushion their role in spreading the false narrative by claiming the agents used “whip-like cords” or “reins like whips” but their agenda-setting is clear.
We went from “whip,” to “whip-like chord,” to “horse reins.” pic.twitter.com/KMNJ9S14YP
— Brandon Darby (@brandondarby) September 21, 2021
CNN analyst Asha Rangappa joined in the Twitter fun by asking “who issued…whips. To Border Patrol.”
Thank you to those explaining that they are "split reins," not whips. So let's go to the next question. *takes a deep breath*
WHY THE $#^&*@ ARE THEY BEING USED AS A WHIP??? ON PEOPLE. 😑
— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) September 21, 2021
MSNBC host Chris Hayes deliberately avoided calling the Border Patrol’s reins “whips” but said accuracy demanded an admittance that “they were using their reins as whips.”
Yes, important to be accurate: they were using their reins as whips.
That said, if you take off your belt (which is just there to hold up pants! totally harmless!) and swing it at a person, it's not gonna go great if you say "It's not a whip! Why are you mad?" https://t.co/IMZBV7vH4D
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) September 21, 2021
Members of the White House press corps also quickly latched onto the narrative and ensured that it was a regular topic of discussion in press briefings.
President Biden on border patrol agents using horse reins against Haitian migrants: "It's beyond an embarrassment. It's dangerous. It's wrong. It sends the wrong message around the world. It sends the wrong message at home. It's simply not who we are."
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) September 24, 2021
Another reporter pressed Psaki for minutes over the Haitian migration issue and asserted that border agents were acting “with the intent to lash” and hurt black illegal aliens.
April Ryan continues to act as though she's the only reporter in the room, taking up minute after minute putting Haiti first, not the border, laws, and people of the U.S. To her credit, Psaki notes lots of people want to come here, but April kept playing the race card (2/) pic.twitter.com/vll4kp4cpG
— Curtis Houck (@CurtisHouck) September 22, 2021
Current and Former Government Officials and Their Staff
The executive director of San Antonio Mayor and Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro’s political action committee popularized the lie on Twitter which gained more than 73,000 likes.
Border patrol is mounted on horseback rounding up Haitian refugees with whips.
This is unfathomable cruelty towards people fleeing disaster and political ruin. The administration must stop this. pic.twitter.com/BSjT91NSj0
— Sawyer Hackett (@SawyerHackett) September 20, 2021
When news broke that there is no proof of “whipping,” he dug his heels in.
The treatment by border patrol is horrific, which is why I tweeted it. It’s still horrific. The policy creating the circumstances is far worse.
— Sawyer Hackett (@SawyerHackett) September 24, 2021
Former director of the United States Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub tried to diss “right winger-fringe-bigot blue checks on Twitter” who he said “are trying to argue that these aren’t whips.”
“How the hell would it even matter if someone is using an object that was marketed and sold as a whip or using some other object to whip a human being? It’s whip if it’s used as a whip!!” he said.
Right winger-fringe-bigot blue checks on Twitter are trying to argue that these aren’t whips. How the hell would it even matter if someone is using an object that was marketed and sold as a whip or using some other object to whip a human being? It’s whip if it’s used as a whip!! pic.twitter.com/TM5TOP4S47
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) September 20, 2021