Vice President Mike Pence expressed frustration Friday night that CNN decided to focus its coverage on the overcrowded, sweltering conditions at a migrant processing center for adults rather than a less-troubled facility for families.
"CNN is so dishonest," he tweeted after visiting two Border Patrol facilities near the U.S.-Mexico border. "Today we took reporters to a detention facility on the border for families and children and all told us they were being treated well."
On Friday, Pence toured a Border Patrol processing center for adults in McAllen, Texas, that a pool reporter described as squalid and foul-smelling.
"The cages were so crowded that it would have been impossible for all of the men to lie on the concrete," The Washington Post's Josh Dawsey wrote. "The men said they were hungry and wanted to brush their teeth. It was sweltering hot. Agents were guarding the cages wearing face masks."
Video taken of the visit shows migrants trying to communicate with reporters on the other side of a chain-link fence. Some tried to testify to the conditions they were being subjected to, shouting "No shower, no shower!"
Nevertheless, Pence took issue with the decision by CNN (and, by extension, most media outlets) to focus on these conditions instead of the more habitable conditions at a facility for children and families he also visited on Friday in Donna, Texas.
"Rather than broadcast the full story, showing the compassionate care the American people are providing to vulnerable families, tonight CNN only played video of men in the temporary facility and didn't play any footage of the family facility at all, ignoring the excellent care being provided to families and children," Pence wrote. "Our great [Border Patrol] agents deserve better and the American people deserve the whole story from CNN!"
The vice president also claimed that the conditions at the facility for adults were owed to congressional Democrats who "refused to fund" additional beds, despite the Democratic-led House of Representatives recently signing off on a Republican-created bill from the Senate to provide a nearly $4.6 billion emergency aid package for agencies handling arriving migrants.
Friday's visit came in the wake of a raft of public reporting and internal government investigations that have clarified the full scale of the humanitarian crisis at the southern border, due in part to mismanagement and neglect at Border Patrol processing centers.
While U.S. Customs and Border Protection guidelines urge processing centers to detain single adults no longer than 72 hours, some men at the Donna, Texas, facility shouted, according to Friday's pool report, that they had been inside the caged fences "40 days or longer."
Pence put on a stolid expression after visiting that facility. At a news conference later on, he told reporters: "I was not surprised by what I saw."