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 that their children aren’t coming back hours later. 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 it makes the Trump family seem humble.
My life changed the day I became a father. Liza, Charlie, and Sam are my highest priority. Wishing all of the dads out there a happy early #FathersDay pic.twitter.com/w3UsSkR4Lf
— 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 on Fathers Day, 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.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders both quoted the Bible to defend this heinous practice, and President Trump for his part 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. All of that is the Democrats’ fault, you see.
Republicans in Congress have allowed this travesty to unfold with little more than lip service. Some are calling for legislation that would end this policy, but only as part of a larger border bill that dumps billions into Trump’s long-sought wall and institutes other draconian measures. With the president threatening to veto the GOP bills currently under discussion, the few Republicans in Congress talking a good game are afraid of a face-off with the White House so close to the mid-term elections.
The problem is that President Trump likes the family separation issue because he thinks it gives him leverage to get the 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.
And so the best possible spin we can put on this is that the president may not derive joy and satisfaction from these sadistic tactics in and of themselves; he’s only allowing it to continue as a negotiating tactic. But the fact that he’s more than willing to use immigrant families as pawns in this heinous manner is a kind of sadism all its own.
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.
One must conclude now that they are either powerless to stop Trump, or they are willfully enabling him. There can no longer be any other explanation.