The Trump Administration came under fire when the policy of separating children from their parents at the U.S. southern border was first introduced. Images of children in literal cages exploded across news feeds online and on every cable television network – even Fox News, a network that has been the friendliest of all to the Trump Administration. The fact that Fox could not ignore these stories was quite ominous for Donald Trump, and would foreshadow things to come.
The backlash was swift and bipartisan, and the Administration was forced to backtrack, with Trump eventually signing an order to end the policy. The now-former Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielson, became the face of the policy that was largely seen as cruel. This perception eventually culminated in Secretary Nielson being heckled and forced out of a restaurant by people protesting the Trump Adminstration’s border policies.
These events occurred during the Summer of 2018, but now the family separation issue is back in the news, because it has been reported that Secretary Nielson, who recently resigned from the Trump Administration, perhaps was not tough enough in her treatment of immigrants at the southern border to satisfy Trump. The perceived cruelty of the policies regarding immigrants at the border has not been good politically for Donald Trump and his administration. To that end, he chose to claim that President Obama had a child separation policy, saying:
“I’m the one that stopped it. President Obama had child separation.”
This statement came during a press availability prior to Trump’s meeting for photographs with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. When an inquiry was made as to the intention to continue to deter illegal border crossing with family separation policies, Trump responded, “We’re not looking into it.”
Then, he doubled down on his previous statement regarding President Obama’s policies, along with implying that the notoriously dangerous journey is an easy one:
“I’ll tell you something, once you don’t have it that’s why you have many more people coming. They are coming like it’s a picnic, like, ‘Let’s go to Disneyland.’ President Obama separated children. They had child separation; I was the one that changed it.”
As could have been predicted by the events of the original explosion regarding this policy, was too much even for Fox News. One host on the conservative network, Shepard Smith, could not take Trump’s lies with regards to this policy. He announced that he would be “separating rhetoric from reality when it comes to immigration in America” during his time on the air. Smith then proceeded to fact-check Trump’s claims regarding the child separation policy, and inform his viewers of what really led up to the images of children in cages that the entire world was so horrified by.
Smith said, “after President Trump issued the zero tolerance order, officials did separate children from their parents. Some families have not yet been reunited. ”
Smith then delivered the final, blunt fact-check for anyone who still believed that it was the Obama Administration, not the Trump Administration, that started this policy:
“The Trump administration did separate families. The Trump Department of Homeland Security estimates more than 2,300 children had been separated from their families by last spring. The Trump administration did detain children in cages.”
Even Fox News called out Trump on his lies about Obama separating children!https://t.co/NHgr9HnZY9
— Hear Me Roar (@Stop_Trump20) April 10, 2019
The Fox News network is quite pro-Trump, but facts are facts, and apparently they saw this as too egregious a violation of the public trust to let go.
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Shannon Barber is a progressive queer feminist and budding political scientist. She is passionate about issues of social justice, including but not limited to racial equality, criminal justice reform, pro-Black politics, and LGBTQ equality. She hopes to change the world, one mind at a time.