About 2 hours ago, just before 5pm, CNN ran an extraordinary story suggesting that acting as the front for an unstable, lying president is getting to press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. A White House official told CNN Sanders didn’t want to do today’s press briefing and have to answer for the administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their parents. So Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen had to be flown back from New Orleans to do it, which explained the ‘repeated delay’ of today’s briefing. In fact, just before 5pm, it wasn’t clear if Nielsen would even make it back for the latest rescheduled press conference. Well, she did. And it was a train wreck.
Nielsen appeared very poorly-prepared for press questions that should have been obvious to her, given what we’ve seen. Among her alarming statements is Nielsen doesn’t know where the migrant girls and toddlers are that the feds are holding. In fact, she said they’re fine, which she can’t actually know, given how little command of the facts she has. The images we’ve seen are overwhelmingly of boys. CBS News reporter Katie Watson points out Neilsen was unable to give an adequate answer. “I don’t know,” Nielsen answered. “I’m not familiar with those particular images.” Images. Gah.
Senator Kamala Harris, a likely 2020 contender, called for Nielsen to resign this afternoon. @BlueJersey tweeted to both our senators and Harris’ fellow 2020 short-listers asking if they join that call (retweet us?). Bonuses: Here’s Slate’s take on Neilsen’s most audacious claim (with video). Here’s Neilsen’s whole briefing, with a Sarah Huckabee Sanders chaser.
Meanwhile, here’s what your Governor has to say about it all:
Statement from Governor Phil Murphy on Trump Administration’s Forced Separation of Migrant Children from their Families at the U.S. Border
“For centuries, America has been a refuge for those seeking freedom and yearning for a better life. President Trump has turned this promise on its head.
“The Trump policy of separating families, housing children in cages, and preventing members of Congress from even seeing the conditions in which migrant families are housed defies any sense of logic and human decency. I add my voice to the chorus rightfully condemning the President’s decision to allow such inhumane treatment of children and families. That these detainment practices are being conducted in New Jersey, within mere miles of the Statue of Liberty, is beyond abhorrent.
“Let’s be perfectly clear – the choice to implement this appalling policy is a choice President Trump, and no one else, made. It has no basis in law or Scripture. The ability to do the right thing rests on his shoulders, and his alone.”
Featured photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images