Immigration Boss Cuccinelli Faces Down CBS Reporter's Attempt To Get Weepy over New Rule


When it comes to showboating Washington correspondents, CNN’s Jim Acosta might be getting some competition.

At a news conference Monday morning for the unveiling of new Trump administration rules cracking down on immigration that ends up being a drain on the nation’s taxpayers, one member of the Washington press corps asked a question that pulled the media’s already dismal reputation even lower.

But the answer was almost perfect.

The moment came when Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, was fielding questions about new regulations designed to put a premium on immigrants who are financially able to support themselves when they come to the United States.

(It’s not exactly a new, radical idea. According to a CBS News item published Monday, it was part of the country’s immigration laws from the late 19th century through the late 20th century.)

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One of the reporters in attendance decided to go all weepy with a question, demanding to know whether it was time to take down the famed Emma Lazarus poem  from the Statue of Liberty — the one many children at least partially learn in grade school: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

Check it out the exchange here:

The question is as insulting as it is absurd, and was almost certainly designed to bait Cuccinelli into a response that would make a soundbite President Donald Trump’s opponents could use as ammunition.

But the acting director treated it with a gravity — and professionalism — that showed just how off-base it was.

“I’m certainly not prepared to take anything down off the Statue of Liberty,” he said.

“We have a long history of being one of the most welcoming nations in the world on a lot of bases, whether you be an asylee, whether you be coming here to join your family or yourself. I do not think by any means we are ready to take anything off the Statue of Liberty.”

Twitter users weren’t as gracious.

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And then there were a few tweets that pointed out the obvious – that there’s a world of difference between inspirational words and the workaday legislation that makes orderly life in a great republic possible.

The worst part of the ridiculous question might have been its source.

A listener hearing it for the first time might have assumed it came from one of the most liberal news outlets allowed in the White House, like CNN’s Acosta, for instance (he played the Emma Lazarus card during a confrontation with White House adviser Stephen Miller back in 2017).

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But according to the Washington Examiner, the questioner was Steven Portnoy, a CBS Radio correspondent and president-elect of the White House Correspondents Association.

So, not only is an administration official rolling out an important change in American immigration law greeted with a baiting, insulting question seemingly designed to benefit Democrats, the man who asked the question is actually elected head of the media group that covers the presidency itself.

If the members of the media ever really wonder why so much of the public considers them purveyors of “fake news,” they could start by watching this video, and trying to figure out what’s wrong with it.

It’s a fair bet, too many of them don’t already know.

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Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro desk editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015.
Joe has spent more than 30 years as a reporter, copy editor and metro editor in newsrooms in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Florida. He's been with Liftable Media since 2015. Largely a product of Catholic schools, who discovered Ayn Rand in college, Joe is a lifelong newspaperman who learned enough about the trade to be skeptical of every word ever written. He was also lucky enough to have a job that didn't need a printing press to do it.