We’ll never know the truth behind Donald Trump’s humiliating reversal of his own brutal policy of separating thousands of immigrant children from their parents at the border.
But we do know that Trump will lie about his actions, and will be utterly incompetent about fixing the crisis he created.
First, the most glaring lies. This is not a humane policy replacing an inhumane one. Instead of imprisoning children separately, the United States will now imprison them together with their parents indefinitely. That’s for the misdemeanor of crossing the border illegally, even though it is perfectly legal to claim asylum at the border or after crossing the border.
There are several reasons why previous administrations – including President Obama’s – found it hard to imprison families, even as they engaged in their own crackdowns on illegal immigration. Yes there were legal constraints on jailing children for more than 20 days, whether alone or with their parents. But there are also practical limits, as well as moral ones: where on earth is the United States going to imprison all these families?
So spare us the pretense – and the lazy reporting – about Trump’s newfound moral compass. When Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci is testifying about your compassion, you need to find better character witnesses. You also should tell him to stop blaming other White House officials for his own disastrous policies.
The policy reversal is itself a lie that gives the lie to another dozen lies. Trump did not need to sign an executive order to end the separation of young children from their mothers and fathers. He could have just picked up the phone to tell his attorney general to stand down, just as Jeff Sessions ordered up the new policy from his own officials earlier this year.
How could it be so easy to change a policy that Trump’s own secretary of homeland security, Kirstjen Nielsen, insisted was not in fact a policy? What happened to the legal principles she so bravely defended at the White House podium just two days ago?
“Here is the bottom line,” she said, before deciding to…