President Trump on Friday accused Democrats of telling “phony stories of sadness and grief” in order to attack his immigration policies.
“We must maintain a Strong Southern Border. 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,” Trump tweeted. “Obama and others had the same pictures, and did nothing about it!”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later pointed to an image of a crying two-year-old girl, which was featured on the cover of Time magazine, who was later revealed to have not been separated from her parents.
“It’s shameful that dems and the media exploited this photo of a little girl to push their agenda. She was not separated from her mom. The separation here is from the facts. Dems should join POTUS and fix our broken immigration system. #ChangetheLaws,” she tweeted.
The comments reveal Trump’s frustration as he continues to take fire over his administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which led to the separation of more than 2,300 children from their families crossing illegally into the U.S.
Images of young children detained in metal cage-like structures at facilities near the border sparked a public outcry that led Trump to change the policy this week.
Trump acknowledged the power of those images on Wednesday when signing an executive order intended to keep families together, even though he now claims some of them are “phony.”
“I didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated,” he said.
The president had been urging lawmakers to pass legislation to address the issue of family separation and beef up border security, but reversed himself on Friday when he tweeted that House Republicans should “stop wasting their time on Immigration.”