Pelosi becomes visibly emotional over photo of dead migrant father and daughter

Pelosi becomes visibly emotional over photo of dead migrant father and daughter
© Greg Nash

House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSenators huddle on Russia sanctions as tensions escalate Schumer requests Senate briefing on Ukraine amid Russia tensions Biden rushes to pressure Russia as Ukraine fears intensify MORE (D-Calif.) became visibly emotional while discussing the widely seen photo of a father and young daughter who drowned while trying to cross the Rio Grande.

At her weekly press conference on Thursday, a reporter asked Pelosi for her reaction to the image of the two migrants from El Salvador lying face down in the river and who she held responsible for the deaths.


Pelosi looked down, remained silent for several seconds, and took a deep breath before answering.

"Can you just imagine, the father put the little girl on the shore to go back to get the mother, and the little girl wanted to be with her father, she got back in, and then he couldn't save her and then he couldn't save himself. This is such a tragedy," Pelosi said.

"It's not a question of blame. It's a question of being prayerful — and understand the consequences of policy."

Pelosi noted she's observed the tumult of the Rio Grande on her visits to the southern border and decried how the image of the dead father and daughter has come to be representative of the situation at the southern borer. 

"So I can just imagine how that happened. And I just think it's such a shame for that to be the face of America around the world," Pelosi said.

Journalist Julia Le Duc captured the image in Matamoros, Mexico, on Monday. The Associated Press identified the dead migrants as Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-month-old daughter, Valeria.

According to Le Duc's reporting for the Mexican newspaper La Jornada, Martínez swam across the river on Sunday with his daughter because his family was unable to present themselves to U.S. authorities and request asylum from El Salvador. 
Martínez set Valeria on a bank on the U.S. side of the river and began to swim back for his wife, Tania Vanessa Ávalos. But his daughter became upset and swam after her father, who managed to grab her. They were overcome by the river's current, according to the Associated Press