Jun 20, 2018

Trump signs order to end family separation

President Donald Trump, with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Vice President Mike Pence. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday intended to end his administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their families at the border, stating that he "wants to keep families together" but also enforce the zero-tolerance policy that created this crisis.

"I feel very strongly about it. I think anybody with a heart would feel very strongly about it. We don’t like to see families separated. At the same time we don’t want people coming into our country illegally. This takes care of the problem.”
— President Trump

The backdrop: The order, which Trump signed sandwiched between Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Vice President Mike Pence, comes days after Trump and his Cabinet refused to publicly back down from the policy, instead punting the issue to Congress.

Top Trump quotes from the signing:

  • "Gonna have a lot of happy people," he said as he signed the order.
  • Trump says his family pressed him on the issue: "Ivanka feels very strongly, my wife feels very strongly about it, I feel very strongly about it. I think anybody with a heart would feel very strongly about it."

Read the full order here.

Go deeper

Trump hits back at Mattis: "I gave him a new life"

President Trump speaks at the White House. Photo: Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump unloaded on his former defense secretary via Twitter on Wednesday, hours after James Mattis condemned him for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in his response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

What he's saying: "Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was 'Chaos', which I didn’t like, & changed it to 'Mad Dog'"

Obama praises young protesters, urges mayors to pursue police reforms

Former President Barack Obama called on all mayors to review their use-of-force policies and commit to policing reform in a virtual town hall Wednesday hosted by the Obama Foundation's My Brothers Keepers Alliance.

Why it matters: Obama has addressed the killing of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that followed on social media and in a Medium post, but this was his first time speaking about the past week's events on camera. His voice will add weight to the growing pressure on local, state and federal officials to pursue policing reforms.

James Mattis condemns Trump as a threat to the Constitution

Mattis on Fox in Septemnber 2019 in New York City. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis condemned President Trump for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in a statement to The Atlantic on Wednesday, saying he was "appalled" at the president's response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

Why it matters: Trump’s former defense secretary had refrained from publicly criticizing his former boss since resigning in 2018.