Laura Ingraham blasts liberals’ hypocrisy on family separation

April 15, 2019

Laura Ingraham blasts liberals’ hypocrisy on family separation Gage Skidmore / CCL

Laura Ingraham blasted liberals Tuesday for their “hypocrisy” in ignoring that the separation of immigrant families occurred under President Barack Obama’s watch, too.

The Fox host criticized liberals who were “rushing to Obama’s defense” after President Donald Trump pinned the blame for family separations on his predecessor on Tuesday. Ingraham said that the left’s obsessive “hatred” of the president has given them selective amnesia about their favorite president putting “children in cages.”

“When Obama does it, it’s good. When Trump does it, it’s cruel,” Ingraham said.

Leftist hypocrisy

The ouster of former Homeland Security head Kirstjen Nielsen has sparked questions over whether the controversial family separations “policy” would return. Trump officially ended it in June under pressure after a widespread outcry.

Asked by reporters on Tuesday whether he would bring it back, Trump said that he’s “not looking to do it” and blamed Obama for separating families. Trump specifically mentioned misleading images that circulated on social media last summer at the height of the family separations crisis. The images were taken by the Associated Press in 2014, when Obama was president.

“Obama separated the children, just so you understand. President Obama separated the children,” Trump said. “The cages that were shown, very inappropriate, they were built by President Obama’s administration — not by Trump… The press knows it, you know it, we all know it.”

Trump’s comments set off a storm of liberal “fact-checks” claiming that Trump lied about Obama’s immigration policy. Ingraham blasted the press for “rushing to 44’s defense” before playing a montage of CNN anchors, including Jim Acosta, calling Trump a liar. Acosta had said that the president “tried to falsely blame Barack Obama for the policy, which is widely regarded as inhumane.”

Ingraham then played a clip of CNN analyst and Obama national security council Sam Vinograd admitting that Obama separated children too — but it was okay when he did it because it was “for their protection,” Vinograd said. “It was if there was a risk of trafficking or other kind of harm that might have been incurred.”

But protecting families is “what the Trump folks are doing now,” Ingraham argued. “When Obama does it, it’s good. When Trump does it, it’s cruel.”

Liberal spin zone

While families have been separated at higher rates under Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy requiring criminal prosecution of all illegal border crossers, Trump merely expanded family separations that already occurred under Obama. The Obama administration built family detention centers and did occasionally separate parents and children, for example, when adults were caught with drugs or other contraband.

The Obama administration also detained unaccompanied minors in chain-link pens like those pictured in the 2014 photos wrongly attributed to Trump.

Although the Obama administration separated children, the cruelty of the Trump administration’s “policy” of putting “children in cages” has nevertheless become a fixture of progressive rhetoric. Ingraham discussed the left’s “obsessive” hatred of Trump with Newt Gingrich, who agreed that the left’s “astonishing groupthink” has sent them into a fact-free frenzy of outrage.

“They don’t have any interest in the truth,” Gingrich said. “They want to know what they can do today to hit Donald Trump. And that’s their whole method. And it’s a groupthink that’s really pretty astonishing,” he added, comparing the left’s mob mentality to moral panics like the Salem witch trials.

The bottom line

Trump was not wrong to point out that his administration expanded a practice that was already occurring — and even used the same facilities — though it was misleading to claim that he “ended” an explicit family separations policy that Obama created. Neither Obama nor President Trump had a family separations “policy;” the rise in separations under Trump was the result of zero-tolerance, although Trump nixed separations under pressure with a June executive order.

The difference between Obama’s “policy” and Trump’s is one between partial and full enforcement of the rule of law. While taking credit for “ending” family separations that started under Obama, Trump also said that closing out the policy would give immigrants an incentive to break the law, saying, “Once you don’t have it, many more people are coming, like a picnic. Like Disney Land.”

It isn’t clear why Trump would want to give Obama credit for enforcing immigration law, but he’s not wrong to point out that the family separations didn’t start with him.

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Matthew Boose

Matthew Boose is a staff writer for Conservative Institute. He has a Bachelor's degree from Stony Brook University and has contributed to The Daily Caller and The Stony Brook Press.