White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is normally comfortable talking about her children — and even as using them as a means of justifying President Donald Trump’s agenda — but she got into a tense exchange on Thursday when asked if, as a mother, she empathized with migrant mothers who are separated from their children by ICE agents. Under the Trump administration’s new “zero-tolerance” policy, women suspected of being illegal immigrants are being separated from children as young as one-year-old.
During a short press briefing on Thursday, Sanders was asked by CNN correspondent Jim Acosta whether she agreed with Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ assessment that the Bible justified his decision to bar mothers from being with or even seeing their infant children as they go through investigation by immigration authorities.
“I can say that it is very biblical to enforce the law. That is actually repeated a number of times throughout the Bible,” responded Sanders, adding that the Trump policy was really Democrats’ fault for refusing to be tougher on immigration. “It’s a moral policy to follow and enforce the law.”
After another reporter noted that there was “no law that requires families be separated at the border,” Sanders moved onto other subjects — prompting outrage from Brian Karem, the executive editor of Sentinel Newspapers, a White House correspondent for Playboy magazine and CNN political analyst.
“Come on, Sarah, you’re a parent! Don’t you have any empathy for what these people are going through?” he demanded.
“Hey, Brian, I know you want to get some more TV time, but that’s not what this is about,” retorted Sanders.
“It’s not about that,” Karem continued. “It’s a serious question. These people have nothing. They come to the border with nothing, and they throw children in cages. You’re a parent, you’re a parent of young children. Don’t you have any empathy for what they go through?”
Sanders had no response to Karem’s outburst, choosing instead to answer a question about Russia.
In just two weeks in May following Sessions’ announcement of the “zero tolerance” policy, more than 650 children were separated from their parents, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Human rights organizations, including the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, have condemned the practice for violating children’s rights and international law. MSNBC reporter Jacob Soboroff has also reported on a former Walmart in Brownsville, Texas, that has been converted into a children’s immigrant detention center that houses nearly 1,500 boys aged 10-17, with four to five boys crammed into each room.
Watch video of the tense exchange below.
"Come on Sarah, you're a parent. Don't you have any empathy for what these people are going through?" CNN political analyst Brian Karem presses White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on family separations at the US-Mexico border https://t.co/b6r513WU0R pic.twitter.com/FqdjUK4Jhe
— CNN (@CNN) June 14, 2018
Read the full story at The Washington Post.