CNN’s Chief White House Correspondent was confronted by a group of “angel moms”—women whose children have been killed by illegal immigrants—after a press conference in the Rose Garden where President Donald Trump declared a national emergency to fund the physical barrier along the U.S.–Mexico border.
Before taking questions from reporters, Trump made his announcement to address the humanitarian crisis on the southwest border. The emergency declaration, combined with a spending bill passed by Congress on Feb. 14, will provide his administration with $8 billion for wall construction.
Trump referred Acosta to the group of angel moms after the reporter questioned if he had manufactured the crisis along the border.
“What do you say to your critics who say that you are creating a national emergency, that you’re concocting a national emergency here in order to get your wall?” Acosta asked Trump during the Feb. 15 press conference.
“I’ll ask the angel moms,” Trump responded. “What do you think, do you think I’m creating something? Ask these incredible women who lost their daughters and their sons.”
Trump said Acosta’s line of questioning contained an “agenda” behind it.
After that somewhat heated exchange, Angel Moms are discussing immigration with @Acosta. One mom who lost her daughter tells him “there is a huge problem..there are mothers going through this everyday.”
Acosta tells them he didn’t mean to offend, says “my heart goes out to you” pic.twitter.com/owkb9pUGUi
— Christal Hayes (@Journo_Christal) February 15, 2019
Following the conference, the group approached Acosta to discuss immigration with him and questioned why his network had not been covering their stories. An Angel Mom reportedly asked Acosta, “When are you going to have us on?” to which he replied, “I’ll do a live shot right now, and you can stand behind me.”
Acosta ended up inviting the mothers on air behind him as they held up the photos of their children that had been killed.
Christal Hayes, a political reporter for USAToday who was at the conference said one angel mom who lost her daughter told Acosta “There is a huge problem… there are mothers going through this every day.” Acosta responded by telling the group he didn’t mean to offend them.
“There is no attempt whatsoever to diminish what they’ve gone through or take away what they’ve gone through, but as you heard in that question that I had with the president … it was really about the facts and the data,” Acosta said later on CNN.
Angel mom Agnes Gibboney—the mother of Ronald da Silva who was shot and killed in 2o02 by an illegal alien who had been previously deported—told Acosta “President Trump is completely correct on this issue, we need to protect this country.”
Luis Gonzales, the illegal alien who murdered Silva, was sentenced to 21 years in prison and will be released in 2020.
After Angel Moms confront Jim Acosta, he invites them to join him on air pic.twitter.com/VCL5DyzgXZ
— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) February 15, 2019
Acosta was briefly banned from the White House after he refused to release a microphone he was holding during a post-midterms press conference on Nov. 7.
Not long after, the White House fully restored the press credentials for CNN correspondent Jim Acosta on Nov. 19, and issued a set of rules guiding the conduct of journalists at press conferences, according to a statement from press secretary Sarah Sanders.
Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney told reporters on a Feb. 15 conference call that with the emergency declared, the administration will shift $600 million from the Treasury Department, and $6.1 billion from the military budget for border-wall construction.
During the conference, the president pointed out that drugs, gangs, and illegal aliens are pouring into the country, necessitating the need to declare a national emergency.
“We’re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border and we’re going to do it one way or the other. We have to do it,” Trump said at the White House. “We have tremendous amounts of drugs flowing into our country, much of it coming from the southern border.”
Congress passed a $333 billion spending bill on Feb. 14, that includes $1.375 billion in funds for the construction of a border wall. The amount is far short of the $5.7 billion Trump demanded last year. Three weeks ago, the president promised to use executive powers if lawmakers failed to secure the funds he asked for.
On average, approximately 2,000 illegal aliens enter the United States on a daily basis, according to the White House. Many of those who enter have criminal histories or are gang members. Cartels are taking advantage of the porous border to smuggle vast amounts of drugs into the country, contributing to an already devastating opioid crisis. Meanwhile, some 10,000 children are trafficked across the border every year to be sold as sex slaves.
Epoch Times reporter Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.