President Donald Trump largely stuck to scripted remarks during a Monday event honoring immigration officers at the White House. But any attempt to boost morale among the officers amid backlash against the administration’s hardline immigration policies was undermined by a brief, off-the-cuff moment when Trump invited a Latino Border Patrol agent to the podium.
“Adrian, come here. I want to ask you a question,” Trump said while introducing an agent he said had recently arrested someone attempting to smuggle dozens of immigrants. (Bloomberg reporter Jen Jacobs identified the agent as Adrian Anzaldua.) “Come here, come here. You’re not nervous, right?”
Then Trump added, “Speaks perfect English.”
The offhand comment prompted immediate outrage across the internet for suggesting that someone with a Latino background whose job is to enforce US border policy might not speak English well. The remark came less than one week after Trump attracted similar condemnation for attacking former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman as “that dog.”
Monday’s event was designed to honor officers at two embattled immigration agencies, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection, amid mounting calls to adopt a more humane immigration policy and “abolish” ICE. Trump repeatedly appeared to misstate the widely used acronym for Customs and Border Protection, calling the agency CBC.
WATCH: President Trump invites a border patrol agent to speak at a White House event honoring immigration officers: "Come here; you're not nervous, right? Speaks perfect English." pic.twitter.com/NIjlWfEVrv
— NBC News (@NBCNews) August 20, 2018