Reporter Peter Doocy of Fox News, who is one of the only guys left in the press corps still actually doing their job these days, pressed White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday with a very simple inquiry: What, exactly, is the difference between Trump’s “kids in cages” policy and the one that her boss is currently employing?
“Is the Biden administration reopening a temporary facility for migrant children in Texas?” Doocy asked.
“It’s a temporary reopening, because of COVID-19, our intention is very much to close it, but we wanted to ensure that we can follow COVID safety, COVID protocols, as unaccompanied minors come into the United States,” Psaki said, still very much carefully on talking points.
“This is the same facility that was open for a month in the Trump administration, summer 2019,” noted Doocy. “That is when Joe Biden said ‘under Trump there have been horrifying scenes at the border of kids being kept in cages.’ And Kamala Harris said basically ‘babies in cages is a human rights abuse being committed by the United States government, so how is this any different than that?”
Psaki said, “We very much feel that way. Let me be clear here, there’s a pandemic going on. I’m sure you’re not suggesting that we have children right next to each other in ways that are not COVID safe, are you?”
A nice attempt at deflection, but Doocy wasn’t going for it.
“I’m suggesting that Kamala Harris said that this facility, putting people in this facility, ‘is a human rights abuse being committed by the United States government,’ and that Joe Biden said ‘there have been horrifying scenes at the border of kids being kept in cages.’ Now it’s not under Trump, it’s under Biden,” Doocy replied.
“This is not kids being kept in cages,” Psaki said. “This is kids, this is a facility that was opened, that’s going to follow the same standards as other HHS facilities. It is not a replication, certainly not, that was never our intention of replicating the immigration policies of the past administration, but we are in a circumstance where we are not going to expel unaccompanied minors at the border. That would be inhumane, that is not what we’re going to do here as an administration.
“Because of COVID-19 protocols,” she continued, “like social distancing requirements, the capacity at existing Office of Refugee Resettlement shelters has been significantly reduced, because you can’t have a child in every bed, there has to be spacing. And we abide by that spacing to protect the kids who are living in those facilities for a short period of time. And to ensure the health and safety of these kids, HHS took steps to open an emergency facility, to add capacity, where they can provides the care they need before they are placed safely with families and sponsors.”
Good ol’ COVID. What hypocrisy can’t you explain, mighty pandemic?