White House Press Secretary Challenged on Immigration
Reporters at the White House press briefing on Thursday challenged Sarah Huckabee Sanders over the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents at the border in a testy exchange that visibly rattled the White House press secretary.
CNN’s Jim Acosta asked Sanders about the morality of removing children brought illegally to the United States from their mother’s care, prompting Sanders to declare it “very biblical to enforce the law.”
“That is actually repeated a number of times throughout the Bible,” she said as Acosta protested.
“You just said it’s in the Bible to follow the law,” Acosta remarked.
“That’s not what I said,” she replied. “I know it’s hard for you to understand even short sentences, I guess and please don’t take my word out of context.”
As some members of the press corp declared her remark a “cheap shot,” she continued: “The separation of an illegal family are the product of the same legal loopholes the Democrats refuse to close.”
“How is it a policy to take children away from their parents?” Acosta asked. “Can you imagine the horror these children must be going through? … Why is the government doing this?”
“Because it’s the law,” Sanders said before again blaming the Trump administration policy on Democrats.
“There is no law that requires families be separated at the border,” another reporter explained, noting it was “the administration’s choice” to prosecute immigration matters in criminal, as opposed to civil, court.
“Does the president take responsibility for his policy change?” the reporter later asked.
“It’s not a policy change to enforce the law,” Sanders said as the reporter explained the exact Trump administration policy that prompted the change.
“If Democrats want to get the serious about it instead of playing political games, they’re welcome to come here and do something about it,” she said.
“You’re a parent, don’t you have any empathy?” another reporter interjected. “Come on, Sarah, you’re a parent. Don’t you have any empathy for what these people are going through?”
Sanders demanded the reporter calm down.
“These people have nothing,” he continued. “Nothing.”
“I know you want to get more TV time,” Sanders replied.
“It’s not about that … honestly, answer the question,” the reporter pressed. “It’s a serious question. These people have nothing, they come to the border with nothing, and you 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?”
“Jill, go ahead,” she replied, turning to another journalist in the room.
Watch the full exchange below: