Jun 18, 2018

What they're saying: Top GOPers speak out against child separation

Lindsey Graham speaking to a crowd. Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images

President Trump's family separation policy for illegal immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border has sparked public outrage among Republican lawmakers.

Why it matters: This wave of Republican rejection puts the Trump administration in a difficult position as House Republicans consider two immigration bills this week — one of which would address the issue, but would likely need Trump's support to be successful.

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham said President Trump could "stop this policy with a phone call" on Friday in an interview with CNN. "I'll go tell him. If you don't like families being separated, you can tell DHS stop doing it."
  • Sen. Ben Sasse outlined his feelings on Facebook but gave his "short version" in a tweet: "While there's much to say about how catch-and-release policies led us here, family separation is wicked & needs to be stopped "
  • Sen. Susan Collins said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that the policy is "traumatizing to the children who are innocent victims" and "contrary" to the values of the country.
  • Sen. Jeff Flake, along with Collins, wrote a letter to the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services with questions about the family separation policy as it applies to asylum seekers.
  • Rep. Mark Meadows said "families need to be unified" and that legislators need to "get to the bottom of it and make sure families stay together" in an interview with MSNBC's Chris Hayes.
  • Rep. Will Hurd, whose district includes a long stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border, called the policy "unacceptable" and said children should not be used as a "deterrent policy" in the "home of the free and land of the brave," in an interview with CNN.
  • Sen. James Lankford tweeted that he disagrees with the policy, adding that he believes "we must continue to protect the privacy of the children."

Former First Lady Laura Bush jumped into the fray yesterday, stating that the policy "breaks her heart" and comparing it to the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. First Lady Melania Trump also issued a statement via her spokeswoman yesterday, saying that the United States needs "to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart."

Go deeper: Pressure grows on Trump to change border policy for kids.

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Trump says he will campaign against Lisa Murkowski after her support for Mattis

Trump with Barr and Meadows outside St. John's Episcopal church in Washington, D.C. on June 1. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Thursday that he would endorse "any candidate" with a pulse who runs against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Driving the news: Murkowski said on Thursday that she supported the former defense secretary's condemnation of Trump over his response to protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing. She described Mattis' statement as "true, honest, necessary and overdue," Politico's Andrew Desiderio reports.

23 mins ago - World

The president vs. the Pentagon

Trump visits Mattis and the Pentagon in 2018. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

Over the course of just a few hours, President Trump was rebuffed by the Secretary of Defense over his call for troops in the streets and accused by James Mattis, his former Pentagon chief, of trampling the Constitution for political gain.

Why it matters: Current and former leaders of the U.S. military are drawing a line over Trump's demand for a militarized response to the protests and unrest that have swept the country over the killing of George Floyd by police.

New York Times says Tom Cotton op-ed did not meet standards

Photo: Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A New York Times spokesperson said in a statement Thursday that the paper will be changing its editorial board processes after a Wednesday op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), which called for President Trump to "send in the troops" in order to quell violent protests, failed to meet its standards.

Why it matters: The shift comes after Times employees began a coordinated movement on social media on Wednesday and Thursday that argued that publishing the op-ed put black staff in danger. Cotton wrote that Trump should invoke the Insurrection Act in order to deploy the U.S. military against rioters that have overwhelmed police forces in cities across the country.