Reporters fact-check Trump on family separation to his face, Trump keeps lying anyway

"I hate the children being taken away. The Democrats need to change their law."

U.S. President Donald Trump answers questions from the media. (Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump answers questions from the media. (Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Speaking with a gaggle of reporters on the White House lawn Friday, President Donald Trump once again blamed Democrats for his administration’s policy of separating families.

I hate the children being taken away. The Democrats have to change their law. That’s their law […] The children, the children can be taken care of quickly, beautifully and immediately. The Democrats forced that law upon our nation. I hate it. I hate to see separation of parents and children.”

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Even though reporters tried to impress upon the president that there is no law requiring splitting up families — it’s in fact a Trump administration policy he could change at anytime — Trump just kept repeating the lie.

This is far from the first time the president has placed the blame on Democrats for this policy.

There is, of course, no law requiring that families and children be separated at the border, and were there one it wouldn’t be Democrats — who have been the most outspoken critics of the policy — that would have created it.

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In May, Trump’s own Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a “zero-tolerance” policy that would “prosecute every case that is brought to us” and thus, leading to the detention of migrant parents. Because children are not allowed in detention facilities, those who traveled to the border with their parents were separated from them and placed in a shelter.

As a result, parents have reportedly been told their children are being taken away for a quick shower when they are being moved to shelters with propagandized murals. A baby was reportedly plucked from her mothers’ breast while feeding. ICE has put out a flyer with a hotline that parents should call if they cannot find their kids.

If President Trump is so against the policy his own administration spearheaded,  why doesn’t he just end the practice of separating families? In the Friday morning gaggle with reporters, Trump revealed that what he wants in return is funding for his border wall, effectively using migrant children as leverage.

“The Democrats can come to us as they actually are in all fairness, we are talking to them, and they can change the whole border security. We need a wall,” he said. “We need border security.”

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In the immigration compromise bill currently proposed in the House of Representatives, Trump gets everything he asked for, largely because GOP leadership based the legislation on the White House’s own immigration framework. In the bill, families are detained by the Department of Homeland Security for longer periods of time rather than being separated at the border, and in exchange, the president gets border wall funding.

Despite the compromise bill meeting all of the president’s criteria, it isn’t enough.

“I certainly wouldn’t sign the more moderate one,” Trump said on Fox & Friends Friday morning. “I need a bill that gives this country tremendous border security. I have to have that.”

Meanwhile, the policy Trump claims to have so much disdain for remains in practice, and thousands of migrant children sleep in shelters separated from their parents.