Sunday, June 23, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He tried to blame his family separation policy on President Obama.

In an interview with NBC's Chuck Todd released today, Trump falsely attributed his administration's "zero tolerance" practice of separating asylum-seeking children from their parents to Obama. He then immediately suggested that ending the practice, which he did after facing almost universal outrage, was a mistake.

TRUMP: And this has been happening long before I got there. What we've done is we've created, we’ve, we’ve ended separation. You know, under President Obama you had separation. I was the one that ended it. Now I said one thing, when I ended it I said, "Here's what's going to happen. More families are going to come up." And that's what's happened.

This is a lie. In reality, the Obama and previous administrations only separated children from their parents when officials suspected abuse. Even thought Trump officially rescinded the policy last July, and a federal court order banning its reinstatement, hundreds of children have been taken from their parents in the last year all the same.

Trump has threatened several times since to officially reinstate family separation for legal asylum-seekers, in spite of court orders forbidding him from doing so, arguing that if people are treated cruelly enough when the arrive in the United States to make an asylum claim, it will keep them from coming in the first place. 

In the past few weeks, Trump has canceled school classes for detained children, barred them from receiving legal aid, and fought to keep the government from having to provide them with soap or toothpaste or mattresses to sleep on.

Why should I care about this?

  • Jailing children in dangerous conditions to score political points is monstrous.
  • It's not optional for the president to obey laws saying that asylum-seekers have rights and that prohibit cruelty to children.
  • It's wrong to blame other people for the bad things you are doing.