The Trump Administration rewarded Border Patrol agents for their support of Trump as president by picking an Obama holdover whom they despise to be their boss. Trump chose the Obama-hired Customs and Border deputy who was tasked with enacting Obama’s open border vision to lead the parent agency of Border Patrol, Customs and Border Protection (CBP). All of the Border Patrol agents who spoke with Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby from all nine Southwest border sectors expressed feeling betrayed or otherwise hurt by Trump choosing a man who did so much damage to them to be their new boss. Many expressed regret for having supported Trump in the first place and for having believed he would actually listen to them and care about what they experienced while risking their lives for other Americans.
The feelings of betrayal come just days after the announcement of Obama-hire Kevin McAleenan as the next Commissioner of CBP. While the organization that represents the agents, the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) has not spoken about the nomination, Darby spoke about how the line agents feel let down. His comments were made on the Texas radio show The Pursuit of Happiness.
“I know that Trump has promised to get the National Border Patrol Council and agents a large voice in what happens on the border,” Darby said. “ Last Friday he picked Kevin McAleenan, he nominated him to be the Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, the parent agency of Border Patrol.” During the show, Darby spoke on how McAleenan is not only a holdover from the Obama administration, but a key player during the previous administration’s push for a less secure border.
“He nominated this guy .. the problem is that this guy was hired by Barack Obama and was made deputy of [CBP] and all of the things we fought against on the border happened under this guy’s watch and he would have been the one responsible for implementing them. That’s DACA, DAPA and Catch and Release.” Darby said referring to some of the controversial programs started under the Obama administration.
Despite being an Obama holdover, McAleenan’s role appears to have been key in the implementation of those controversial programs, Darby said. “This is the guy who was picked by Barack Obama to enact Barack Obama’s open border policies.” he said.“This guy for some reason has been picked by Trump to be the boss of the border patrol agents who did so much and believed so much in Donald Trump.”
While the NBPC has not released any statements on the matter or had its members publicly discuss the issue, Darby said he has spoken with numerous other agents who are not NBPC leaders and have been key to helping Breitbart readers understand the realities of the southern border.
“Every single agent I have spoken with has been upset,” Breitbart Texas’ director said. “They tell me ‘We feel betrayed by the Trump Administration. We don’t understand how the Trump Administration could pick this person to be our boss after what we did.’ …I find it to be very concerning … I have not spoken to one who does not feel hurt, betrayed, let down about this.”
As Breitbart Texas initially reported, during the 2016 Republican Presidential Primaries, the NBPC publicly endorsed Trump. However, according to Darby, the current U.S. Border Patrol Chief Ronald Vitiello had tried to keep agents from doing so.
“When the NBPC was about to endorse Trump, Vitiello got on Twitter, he tweeted comparing Donald Trump to Dennis the Menace. I think it was an effort to get them not to support Trump.”
While Vitiello has since received public support from the NBPC, tensions appear to remain as line agents or boots on the ground appear to feel left out of the table in dealing with key decisions as to securing the border. According to Darby, during the heavily contested presidential primary, the NBPC endorsing Trump brought key support to his camp.
“I believe it was the Border Patrol agents who came out for him and put him over the edge to win the Republican nomination in the primary,” he said. “This is the first time they have endorsed a presidential candidate much less a candidate in the primary, These guys go all our for him and then for some reason he [Trump] puts someone who seemingly helped Obama try to destroy them and to open the border.”
Ildefonso Ortiz is an award winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and Stephen K. Bannon. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.
(Disclosure: Breitbart Texas sponsored the Green Line podcast for the NBPC in an effort to provide a platform for agents to inform the public about the realities on the border and what Border Patrol agents face. Director Brandon Darby received an award from the Laredo chapter of the NBPC for his work in helping to defend and bring a voice to Border Patrol agents. Breitbart News assisted in covering funeral costs for a slain Border Patrol agent previously.)