Tuesday, April 9, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He tried to blame his policies on President Obama, and then claim that he'd ended those policies he started, while trying to put them back into place.

At a joint press conference with Egyptian president Fattah al Sissi, Trump said this:

President Obama had child separation. Take a look. The press knows it. You know it. We all know it. I didn’t have — I’m the one that stopped it. President Obama had child separation. 
Now, I’ll tell you something: Once you don’t have it, that’s why you see many more people coming. They’re coming like it’s a picnic because “let’s go to Disneyland.” President Obama separated children. They had child separation. I was the one that changed it.

There are two claims here: first, that under President Obama, it was United States policy to separate children from their parents when families were apprehended after crossing the border, whether it was an illegal crossing or part of an asylum application.

It's not the first time Trump has told that lie, and it remains completely false.

In the real world, Trump fired the Secretary of Homeland Security this week as a result of a meeting during which she reminded him that court orders prohibited him from reinstating the family separation policy he instituted last year. (Trump also told border agents this week to ignore judicial orders, only to be quietly overruled by supervisors after he'd left the room.)

The second claim is that undocumented immigrants traveling to the U.S. border think it's like a "picnic" at "Disneyland."

Ueslei Marcelino (Reuters)
John Moore (Getty)

Marvin Recinos (AFP/Getty)
Orlando Estrada (AFP/Getty)

Pedro Pardo (AFP/Getty)
A migrant family, part of a caravan of thousands traveling from Central America to the United States, run away from tear gas in front of the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico in Tijuana, Mexico, on Nov. 25, 2018.
Kim Kyung Hoon (Reuters)

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol
Jared Moossy (Time)

Why should I care about this?

  • It's wrong to blame other people for things you did.
  • Ordering law enforcement to ignore the law is what authoritarians do.