If you tuned into one of the approximately 200 local news stations owned and operated by Sinclair Broadcast Group this week, you may have seen the company’s “chief political analyst” Boris Epshteyn—the short-lived Trump administration official—deliver this aggressive defense of the Border Patrol’s decision to shoot tear gas at a group of asylum-seekers that included women and children.
The “must-run” segment, which airs in the middle of otherwise ostensibly objective local-news broadcasts, begins with Epshteyn declaring: “The migrant crisis on our southern border has greatly escalated.”
As footage from the confrontation plays on the screen, he adds: “Dozens of migrants attacked U.S. border enforcement by throwing rocks and bottles. Ultimately, American authorities had to use tear gas to stop the attacks.”
Epshteyn then goes on criticize “some on the left, such as Democrat Congresswoman Maxine Waters” who “were immediately up in arms about our president and his team standing up for our men and women in uniform and for our national security.”
“The fact of the matter is that this is an attempted invasion of our country, period,” he continues, borrowing language from his former boss. “Our border must remain intact and secure. It is not a partisan position to believe that our immigration system is broken and needs to be fixed. However, it unfortunately appears that there are many on the left who believe it is wrong to defend our country and abide by the rule of law. I would bet that many of those same people live behind walls and locked doors but do not want to afford the same benefit to our country as a whole.”
“Here’s the bottom line: The notion that a caravan of migrants can be allowed to break through our borders is ludicrous and dangerous,” Epshteyn concludes. “The United States of America should not and cannot be intimidated by those willing to use force to get into our country illegally.”
As Media Matters’ Pam Vogel pointed out on Twitter, this “isn't the first time Epshteyn has used his Sinclair ‘must-run’ platform to defend the cruelty” of the Trump administration. A similar segment that aired over the summer defended the administration’s family separation policy, arguing that while “some of the concern is real, a lot of it is politically driven by the liberals in politics and the media.”
In an email to The Daily Beast this past April, Epshteyn wrote, “I’m not doing anybody’s bidding. I’m on my own when I’m on TV. What I’m doing is not driven by the White House, the president, or anyone but me.”
Yet for the millions of Americans who regularly receive his commentary in the middle of their local news broadcasts, what they are seeing may as well come directly from Trump himself.