As we speak, children by the thousands are being ripped from the arms of their parents at the southern border. Under orders from the Trump Administration, officials are separating families as soon as they cross into the United States and sending them to different facilities for processing, often hundreds of miles apart.
There are reports that mothers and fathers are being told by border agents that their kids are only going to be taken temporarily so they can be bathed and fed, only for them to realize later that their children aren’t coming back. And last month, a Honduran immigrant father was so despondent after his family was separated at the border that he committed suicide in jail.
Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan decided this was the perfect time to issue a Father’s Day video on Twitter, and it’s so tone deaf that it makes the Trump family seem humble.
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) June 16, 2018
Ryan doesn’t say a single thing about the travesty unfolding along the southern border. Not a word about the fathers there who will have little to celebrate Sunday, courtesy of President Trump and the weak Republicans in Congress. Sadly, this is par for the course for the GOP, both inside and outside the White House.
Music legend and outspoken Trump critic John Legend took to Twitter to deride the Republican Speaker of the House in no uncertain terms for his cringeworthy tweet.
Seriously, fuck you. Reunite the families at the border and we can talk about father's day. https://t.co/bbG0gVqfzq
— John Legend (@johnlegend) June 16, 2018
Legend’s frustration is understandable. Compounding the White House’s inhumane policy is the fact that Trump is inexplicably blaming Democrats for both the policy of separating kids itself, and for his unwillingness to exercise his executive branch powers and not follow this policy.
The problem is that President Trump likes the family separation issue because he thinks it gives him leverage to get his wall. He understands that images of crying children ripped from the arms of their mothers – at least in one case where a woman was breastfeeding – aren’t good for his brand, but he’s willing to allow it for a while to pressure negotiations in his favor. Then, when a deal is close, he can easily agree to change the policy and act like he’s making a huge concession, even though it’s not something he ever really wanted in the first place.
Speaker Ryan’s silence on these policies, and the tacit and explicit support they’re receiving from his party, is everything that’s wrong with the GOP in a nutshell. Even in the face of inhumane policies implemented by and in the name of the government they control, they are unwilling or unable to act.
Republicans like Ryan may sanctimoniously extol the wonders of family, but their actions – or silence – speak much, much louder.