President Donald Trump has cast doubt on heartbreaking tales of migrant children separated from their families at the border, dismissing “phoney stories of sadness and grief”.
Mr Trump said that the real victims of the nation’s immigration crisis are Americans who have been killed by those who cross the border unlawfully.
Bombarded with criticism condemning the family separations as a national moment of shame, Mr Trump came back firing, sometimes twisting facts and changing his story but nonetheless highlighting the genuine grief of families on the other side of the equation.
He focused on the fact that young migrants separated from parents are likely to be reunited, unlike the victims of murders.
“These are the American citizens permanently separated from their loved ones. The word ‘permanently’ being the word that you have to think about. Permanently — they’re not separated for a day or two days, these are permanently separated because they were killed by criminal illegal aliens.”
But that rare moment of public capitulation was brief from the president, who laced his remarks at a rally in Minnesota that night with hardline immigration rhetoric that continued on Friday. In a tweet, the president raised questions about whether the migrants’ hardships really existed.
“We must maintain a Strong Southern Border,” the president tweeted. “We cannot allow our Country to be overrun by illegal immigrants as the Democrats tell their phony stories of sadness and grief, hoping it will help them in the elections. Obama and others had the same pictures, and did nothing about it!”