Trump reportedly promised future pardon to acting Border Patrol chief

April 13, 2019

The mainstream media is calling foul on a message President Donald Trump allegedly had for acting Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kevin McAleenan.

According to the New York Times’s sources, President Trump privately told Secretary McAleenan that, should he ever be sent to jail for blocking immigrants from entering the U.S., he would pardon him.

“One of the people briefed on the conversation said it was possible Mr. Trump had intended the comments to Mr. McAleenan as a joke,” the Times was careful to note.

The Supposed Get Out of Jail Free Card

The exchange between the president and McAleenan is said to have taken place last week when Trump visited the border at Calexico, California. This would have been right before McAleenan took over for Kirstjen Nielsen, who recently resigned.

The Times, for its report, cites three anonymous individuals. They claim that Trump “urged” McAleenan to shut down the Southern border and offered him a pardon should he get into any legal trouble.

The sources paraphrase Trump as saying that he “would pardon him [McAleenan] if he ever went to jail for denying U.S. entry to migrants,” CNN’s Jake Tapper reported. They added that it was “unclear” whether Trump was making a “joke.”

DHS denies report

But more than whether it was a joke or not, new reports have been published disputing whether the president actually said such a thing at all. In contrast to the Times’ unnamed sources, these articles cite the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The DHS through a spokesperson on Friday night denied that Trump ever offered McAleenan a get out of jail free card.

“At no time has the President indicated, asked, directed or pressured the acting secretary to do anything illegal,” the spokesperson said. “Nor would the Acting Secretary take actions that are not in accordance with our responsibility to enforce the law.”

Trump vigorously denied the report on Friday, calling it “Fake News.”


This flap comes as Trump has made threats to close the southern border in response to the sharp uptick in illegal immigration. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency made some 92,000 illegal immigrant arrests in March alone. Compare that to the 37,390 arrests in March of 2018.

The president, correctly, placed the blame on the Democrats who have been unwilling to address the border crisis and are creating incentives for migrants to attempt entry.

“Due to the fact that Democrats are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws, we are indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities only,” Trump tweeted. “The Radical Left always seems to have an Open Borders, Open Arms policy — so this should make them very happy!”

It remains to be seen whether President Trump will follow through with any of these threats. But something certainly needs to be done, and after months of avoidance, even the mainstream media is finally taking notice. Perhaps media pressure will be the key to activating House Democrats, who, so far, are wasting their time on partisan resistance instead of fixing the problem.


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Robert Ayers

Robert Ayers is a staff writer for Conservative Institute. He has a bachelor’s degree from Quinnipiac University and a J.D. from the University of Connecticut.