Fox & Friends is rallying behind President Donald Trump’s false claim that President Barack Obama had a similar policy of child separation at the border and that Trump was the one to end it.
On April 9, Trump repeated his claim that “President Obama had child separation,” saying, “I’m the one that stopped it.” This comment has been thoroughly debunked, “yet Trump keeps repeating it when he’s pressed on family separations,” The Washington Post reported. In reality, the paper wrote, “the Obama administration rejected a plan for family separations”; both the Obama and Bush administrations had a policy of separating children from adults only in limited circumstances, such as when the child was suspected of being in danger.
In 2017, the Trump administration began a pilot program of family separations, and in April 2018, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions revealed a “zero tolerance” policy and the Department of Homeland Security began sending all cases of illegal crossings to federal prosecutors, which “meant systematically separating all families caught crossing the border,” the Post wrote. This practice has led to thousands of children being separated from their families and traumatized; according to a report by the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services, “thousands of children may have been separated during an influx that began in 2017 [in El Paso], … and HHS has faced challenges in identifying separated children.”
On April 10, Fox & Friends moved to rewrite the history surrounding Trump’s family separations policy, even though Fox News’ own Shepard Smith had debunked Trump’s claim the day before -- underscoring the negligible role Fox’s “news side” plays in the overall operation.
From the April 10 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:
BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): Let's talk about the child separation policy. Because instead of solving a problem they want to say the president put kids in cages. And we hear this over and over again from AOC and everybody on down. Well, what is the reality there? The president addressed that yesterday while he sat next to the president of Egypt.
AINSLEY EARHARDT (CO-HOST): Yeah, he did. He signed an executive order last June ending the separations.
STEVE DOOCY (CO-HOST): And he's right. They did have family separations in some cases during the Obama administration. The difference between that and the Trump administration was the Trump administration instituted a zero-tolerance policy. And that was the -- that was what got all the publicity and that is what he ended. Meanwhile, when you look at the facts, sometimes you don't get the facts, according to Ben Shapiro.
KILMEADE: Also, by the way, Mark Morgan, who was there on border patrol during the Obama years, said yes, they absolutely did. If you couldn't determine who the parent actually was and was actually the parent, we would separate them. If they were a convicted criminal or had warrants for a serious crime, they were separated. We did that under President Obama because a lot of times -- and the problem still lingers today -- they come across with a kid, it might be your kid it, it might not. We have to 23andMe DNA kits at the border to decide if that kid was taken from another family?
DOOCY: This is all about the safety of the child. Would the child be safe with that person?