After Death of Border Patrol Agent, ABC Dismisses Wall as ‘Political Theater’

Reporting on Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez being killed in the line of duty over the weekend, on ABC’s Good Morning America on Monday, co-host George Stephanopoulos and correspondent Tom Llamas criticized President Trump for renewing his calls for a border wall in the wake of the death, dismissing it as “political theater.”

“We’re gonna move on now to an investigation underway in Texas after a border patrol agent killed on duty....President Trump weighed in overnight, repeating his call to build a border wall,” Stephanopoulos announced as he introduced the segment. The headline on screen blared: “Trump Reacts to Border Patrol Agent’s Killing; ‘We Will, And Must, Build a Wall.’”

 

 

After noting that “Texas leaders, including Governor Abbott and Senator Cruz, are describing this as an attack,” Llamas explained that the investigation was still ongoing: “U.S. Border Patrol and FBI are launching a full investigation for potential suspects....It’s still not clear what actually happened to the agents and there are reports that there were no shootings involved, but we’re still trying to figure out exactly what happened.”

Stephanopoulos wasted no time making the story about objections to Trump’s border wall: “Meantime, the President did tweet on this overnight, repeating his call for a border wall. Right now Congress shows no willingness to fund it right now, but they are building prototypes.” Llamas eagerly agreed: “No, no, definitely. That is exactly right....a lot of critics call this just political theater because so far they don’t have the funding for this massive project.”

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Fellow co-host Robin Roberts chimed in, fretting over the cost of the wall: “And what’s the cost of these prototypes?” Llamas replied: “Well, $300,000 is the minimum. They’re between $300,000 to $500,000 each, so it’s a pretty penny.” Stephanopoulos added: “And the wall’s billions.”

Unlike ABC, the NBC and CBS morning shows on Monday refrained from attacking the President’s border security proposal while covering the death of Agent Martinez. On the Today show, co-host Savannah Guthrie informed viewers:

The FBI is investigating the death of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent in Texas. Officials say Agent Rogelio Martinez died on Sunday from injuries he suffered while patrolling the Big Bend area near the Mexican border. His partner was seriously injured.

A Border Patrol spokesman would not provide details about the incidents, however, Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Senator Ted Cruz both referred to it was an attack and the President tweeted overnight, quote, “We will seek out and bring to justice those responsible. We will, and must, build the wall!”  

On CBS This Morning, co-host Gayle King reported:

The FBI is leading the investigation into a deadly attack on Customs and Border Patrol agents in Texas. One agent was killed and another was injured yesterday near the Mexico border in Van Horn, now that’s located southeast of El Paso.

The agents were responding in separate cars to a tripped alarm. Officials have not yet established exactly what happened in this attack or who was behind it. They do know that 36-year-old Rogelio Martinez was killed. The other agent was seriously injured, but was able to call for help.

The attack prompted President Trump to tweet this, “We will seek out and bring justice to those responsible. We will, and must, build the wall!”  

Back in October, a CBS reporter asked a member of Border Patrol if building a wall was just “distraction politics.”

All three broadcast networks have followed Democratic Party talking points when it comes to the President’s border security plans, aghast that the White House would actually push for such “hardline policies.”

Here is a full transcript of the November 20 report on GMA:

7:06 AM ET

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: We’re gonna move on now to an investigation underway in Texas after a border patrol agent killed on duty. The agent seen in this photo obtained by our El Paso station KVIA. President Trump weighed in overnight, repeating his call to build a border wall. And our Chief National Correspondent Tom Llamas here with the latest. Good morning, Tom.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Trump Reacts to Border Patrol Agent’s Killing; “We Will, And Must, Build a Wall”]

TOM LLAMAS: George, good morning. We’ve been following the story since overnight. Texas leaders, including Governor Abbott and Senator Cruz, are describing this as an attack. U.S. Border Patrol and FBI are launching a full investigation for potential suspects after a border agent was killed in the line of duty. This all happened in west Texas, near Interstate 10, in the Big Bend sector along the U.S./Mexico border. It’s a dusty stretch of highway about 100 miles east of El Paso.

Now, officials tell us Agent Rogelio Martinez, 36 years old, and his partner were responding to activity while on patrol. Now, Agent Martinez’s partner reported that they were both injured and in need of assistance. Responding agents provided immediate medical care and transported both agents to a local hospital where Martinez later died. It’s still not clear what actually happened to the agents and there are reports that there were no shootings involved, but we’re still trying to figure out exactly what happened.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Meantime, the President did tweet on this overnight, repeating his call for a border wall. Right now Congress shows no willingness to fund it right now, but they are building prototypes.

LLAMAS: No, no, definitely. That is exactly right. There were six companies that built eight different prototypes, we have some video of those prototypes you can see right now. You know, this is one of his keystone promises, that border wall along the southern border. Now, these prototypes have to meet certain requirements in height and how deep they can go. But, George, you’re right, a lot of critics call this just political theater because so far they don’t have the funding for this massive project.

ROBIN ROBERTS: And what’s the cost of these prototypes?  

LLAMAS: Well, $300,000 is the minimum. They’re between $300,000 to $500,000 each, so it’s a pretty penny.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And the wall’s billions.

LLAMAS: Yeah.

ROBERTS: Yes, true.


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NBDaily Immigration Conservatives & Republicans ABC Good Morning America Video George Stephanopoulos Tom Llamas Donald Trump