Senator Katie Britt tries to clarify her misleading State of the Union response

By | March 10, 2024

Alabama GOP Senator. Katie Britt responded on Sunday to allegations she responded to President Joe Biden‘s State of the Union address was misleading.

The criticism centers on a story Britt told about a human trafficking victim, which she suggested happened during Biden’s term.

Britt spoke in her speech Thursday evening about visiting the U.S.-Mexico border in 2023 and speaking with this woman.

Senator Katie Britt responds to President Joe Biden's State of the Union address.  (NBC News)

Senator Katie Britt responds to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address. (NBC News)

“She was trafficked by the cartels from the age of 12. She told me not only that she was raped every day, but also how many times she was raped per day,” Britt said in her response to the State of the Union.

“We would not approve of this happening in a third world country. This is the United States of America, and in my opinion it is time that we start acting like it,” she added. “President Biden’s border crisis is a disgrace.”

Shortly after the speech, a viral social media post from journalist Jonathan Katz took a closer look at the story, noting that the human trafficking did not occur during Biden’s presidency, or even in the United States; it happened during President George W. Bush’s administration in Mexico.

On “Fox News Sunday,” Britt did not acknowledge that she had made a mistake or left the wrong impression.

She was asked if she wanted to give the impression that the story she told about a human trafficking victim took place during Biden’s term in office.

“No,” Britt responded, later adding, “I made it very clear that I spoke to a woman who told me about the time she was trafficked when she was twelve, so I didn’t say it was a teenager went. I didn’t say a young woman, a grown woman, a woman when she was trafficked at 12.”

She doubled down on her Thursday statement that Biden “didn’t just create this border crisis. He invited it with 94 executive actions in his first 100 days.”

“I said very specifically that this is what President Biden did in his first 100 days. Minutes after taking power, he halted all deportations and halted construction of the border wall,” she said on Sunday. (The Biden administration tried to impose a 100-day pause on mass deportations after taking office, but that moratorium was later halted by a judge.)

Although Britt did not mention the victim’s name in her speech Thursday, a spokesperson for her office told The Washington Post that she was referring to Karla Jacinto Romero, an advocate for human trafficking victims’ rights who testified before Congress in 2015 about what had happened to her. girl.

Britt’s office did not respond to a request for comment from NBC News on Saturday.

The White House fired back at the Republican senator, accusing Britt of relying on “debunked lies” to attack Biden.

“Instead of telling more debunked lies to justify opposing the strictest bipartisan border legislation in modern history, Senator Britt should stop choosing human smugglers and fentanyl traffickers over our national security and the Border Patrol Union,” said Deputy White House Press Secretary Andrew Bates. rack. “As President Biden said in his State of the Union address, ‘We have a simple choice: We can fight over fixing the border, or we can fix it.’”

In her 2015 congressional testimony, Jacinto Romero told lawmakers through an interpreter: “For more than four years of my life since I was 12… I fell prey to a professional pimp who, after three months of making out and treating me like a princess, put me on a corner and forced me to work the streets for his own gain. For years I was coerced, intimidated, threatened, beaten, robbed of my children and emotionally and sexually abused over and over again.”

Jacinto Romero was 22 when she gave her testimony, meaning the experience she described began about a decade earlier.

Britt met Jacinto Romero in January 2023 during a trip to the Del Rio sector of the US-Mexico border, where she was joined by Fox News contributor Sara Carter, former Mexican politician and victims advocate Rosa María de la Garza Ramírez, and GOP Sens. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi.

In an episode of “The Sara Carter Show” released the same day as the trip, Carter said she introduced Jacinto Romero to the senators, telling listeners, “She spoke very lively and candidly with legislators… about what happened to her, about people buying her.”

Republicans have long criticized Biden’s handling of the border, arguing that the president has been ineffective in stopping rampant migrant crossings along the southern border. The Biden administration has responded by saying Congress has been unwilling to act since the bipartisan border deal fell apart, and the president is reportedly considering taking executive action to curb migration.

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