A Fox News contributor wore what appeared to be a bulletproof vest during a segment at the southern border Wednesday, and he was quickly mocked for it.
Lawrence Jones, a contributor for Sean Hannity's Fox News program, reported from the Laredo, Texas, area after touring the border with Customs and Border Protection officials.
During the segment, Jones spoke with Border Patrol officials about drug smuggling and arrests of undocumented immigrants in the area.
Much of the segment involved Jones interviewing border officials at their offices, where they spoke about apprehensions and drug confiscations in the sector. But during a live portion of the segment on Hannity, Jones was seen wearing what appeared to be a bulletproof vest with a patch bearing the CBP insignia.
He wore the same vest the following day as he continued reporting for the network.
As images from the segment spread online, Jones was quickly mocked for wearing the vest, including by reporters who have covered the border area for years and never needed to wear a bulletproof vest for their work.
Several reporters said they had conducted ride-alongs with CBP agents and were not required to wear protective gear. BuzzFeed News journalists have also frequently reported from the border with CBP officials, and have not been asked or required to wear the vests.
In subsequent tweets, Jones said that he had been asked by Border Patrol to wear the vest.
In his segment Wednesday, Jones said that he was about to depart with agents to thwart an attempted illegal crossing, telling Hannity that "a lot of these criminals come out at night to make these crossings."
A Fox News spokesperson did not respond to questions about Jones' vest, and referred this reporter to his tweets.
It didn't stop people from mocking the situation online.
Some people pointed out that the vest didn't seem to be the right size for Jones, while others questioned whether it had a plate inside of it.
And then came the photoshopped images.
Jones responded to some of the tweets, repeatedly saying he was instructed by CBP to wear the vest.
But as several people pointed out, Jones is seen in some of his previous tweets out on the field with CBP officials — not wearing the vest.
CBP officials did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News' requests for comment.
On Thursday, Jones continued his defense of the vest on air. This time while wearing a bigger vest.
"I'm going in danger with these Border Patrol agents to report on this story," Jones told Hannity. "The Border Patrol agent that is standing right here keeping us safe told me to put it on."
Jones then mentioned a shooting that occurred in the area two months ago.
"We control this side of the border, but the cartel controls the other side of the border," Jones said. "So there's been gun fights."
Laredo, however, is not a crime-ridden border city.
According to FBI statistics, Laredo has a lower crime rate than the average Texas city, with 362 violent crimes per 100,000 people. The statewide average in 2016 was 434 per 100,000 people.