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Screenshot, White House video

Donald Trump got caught lying about his family separation policy again yesterday, because facts from this administration are getting as hard to find as living human beings working in the Department of Homeland Security. During a press photo op with Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Trump first insisted he's not "cleaning house" at DHS (he has people who clean for him), then lied, for the umpteenth time, that Barack Obama supposedly had a family separation policy just like Trump did, which isn't the least bit true.

Here's the bit where Trump decided that lying about family separation was even more important than letting Sarah Huckabee Sanders herd the press out of the Oval Office.

President Trump Participates in a Bilateral Meeting with the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt youtu.be

Asked about several press reports that he's been pushing to resume family separation, Trump offered this completely contradictory take: Barack Obama started taking kids away (false), I ended the practice (also false), and it's the only thing that works to deter immigration (false yet again).


Just so you understand, President Obama separated the children. Those cages that were shown — I think they were very inappropriate — they were built by President Obama's administration, not by Trump. 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.

Just about every bit of that is false. Under the Obama and George W. Bush administrations, as a February report from the Congressional Research Service points out, children were sometimes taken from parents, but only when adults were suspected of a crime more serious than crossing the border illegally, when agents suspected children were victims of abuse, or when the adults were suspected of trafficking kids whose relationship to the adult was unclear. And for that matter, Customs and Border Protection has continued taking children from parents for those reasons -- and seems especially aggressive about accusing parents and close relatives of "trafficking" children in their own families, and taking away kids from parents suspected of very minor crimes.

As for the cages: Yep, Obama had 'em, and he was deservedly criticized for them. They were originally designed to hold adult border crossers; in 2014, the demographics of migration changed as more and more families and unaccompanied minors began fleeing violence in Central America, and you bet those images were as awful then as they are now. Fortunately, back then the wingnuts knew what the REAL crisis was: Somali pirates masquerading as Guatemalan teens, and Honduran kids flooding into America to get Obamaphones. Also, remember how all those diseased urchins killed us all and we are actually dead of Ebola?

Here's a thing though: Awful though the cages were, the kids in them had come to the US alone, hoping to find relatives already living here. Obama's Border Patrol was not taking them away from their parents as a "deterrent." Trump was the only president to create thousands of unaccompanied minors by taking them from their parents. And no, Trump doesn't win any extra credit for more carefully preventing the press from photographing kids in cages.

Still, Trump's little outburst revealed a couple aspects of how dishonest his administration has been. For one thing, his mention of "cages" undercuts Kirstjen Nielsen's insistence that those aren't cages, they're chain link enclosures. More importantly, Trump's insistence that family separation REALLY WORKED GREAT kind of undercuts the administration's cherished fiction that there never was any such thing as a family separation policy. As CNN reported yesterday, Trump is convinced it's the greatest deterrent to immigration ever -- even for legal asylum seekers who come through ports of entry -- although apparently someone reminded him to at least SAY he's not planning to reinstate the policy. Even though he clearly wants to:

Reporter: Are you going to bring it back is the question. Would you bring it back?

Trump: We're not looking to do that. No. [...]

Reporter: You're not looking to bring it back?

Trump: But it — it brings a lot more people to the border. When you don't do it, it brings a lot more people to the border. We are not looking to do it.

Translation: We are looking to do it once we figure out how to hide it or call it something else, because we really really believe that without taking kids from their parents, people fleeing for their lives are going to Disneyland and WHY DO YOU WANT MS-13 ANIMALS DRIVING WOMEN WITH DUCT TAPE ON THEIR MOUTHS TO DISNEYLAND, HUH?

Egypt's President Sisi was probably delighted to see the American press hectoring Trump over American domestic atrocities, without any troublesome focus on Egypt's shitty human rights record. Thanks for the cover, Mr. Trump! While I'm here, let me tell you how to disappear enemies of the state!

[CNN / WaPo / NYT]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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