Amid reports of migrant children suffering in inhumane and squalid conditions at Texas border detention centers, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) suggested on Monday night the reports could be untrue because of the hatred many feel for the president.
Appearing on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes, the Texas lawmaker was asked by host Chris Hayes whether he agreed that “these kinds of conditions are appalling and unacceptable,” something Burgess was unwilling to fully concede.
Noting that “it’s always been tough” at a number of facilities at the border, Burgess went on to describe the Custom and Border Patrol agents as heroes, insisting that they don’t get enough credit for the humane work they do.
Hayes, meanwhile, pressed the congressman to address the conditions at the facilities, specifically at the center in Clint, Texas, where hundreds of young migrants were reportedly detained in a “chaotic scene of sickness and filth.” Following the reports of overcrowding and inadequate food and sanitation, all but 30 children were removed from the center.
Burgess, however, asserted that he hadn’t seen anything like that at the centers he’d visited, causing Hayes to ask if Burgess thought reporters and lawyers were “making it up.” Once again, the Republican lawmaker insisted that wasn’t what he’d seen, noting that he hadn’t been to the Clint facility.
“You think this is fictional?!” Hayes exclaimed.
“I don’t know if it’s hyperbole,” Burgess replied. “I know that the hatred for this president is so intense, people are liable to say anything. I got to go look for myself and see for myself.”
Moments later, Hayes confronted Burgess over reports that children in the facilities had “lice crawling through their heads,” causing the congressman to claim that the kids “arrive with the lice.”
“You don’t know that,” the MSNBC host exploded. “You do not know that!”
“I do,” Burgess stated.
Hayes pushed back and pointed to reports that children in the Clint facility had contracted the flu there, leading Burgess to bring up another facility altogether.
“That is not true. When I was down in McAllen—” Burgess said, prompting Hayes to fire back that they were talking about Clint and the lawmaker had admitted he hadn’t been there.
“I just talked to the lawyer who was just in Clint, Texas,” the All In host exclaimed. “You just told me you’re not in Clint, Texas. You don’t know what they got.”