Sunday, June 24, 2018

David Smith - How family separations caused Trump's first retreat – and deepened his bunker mentality

Official figures showed that more than 2,300 children were separated from their parents between 5 May and 9 June; a secret audio recording captured some crying for “mami” and “papa”. America looked at itself in the mirror and did not like what it saw. All four living former first ladies spoke out. Church leaders raised their voices. Liberal cable news host Rachel Maddow broke down in tears during a live broadcast. Bruce Springsteen, performing on Broadway, told his audience:“We are seeing things right now on our American borders that are so shockingly and disgracefully inhumane and un-American that it is simply enraging.”... “Something in Donald Trump’s reptilian brain couldn’t understand the morality but understood that using children as bargaining chips is politically toxic. The fallback position we’re in now is equally toxic. He went from the government kidnapping children to the Department of Defense setting up internment camps for families.”

It was the week that Trump discovered there are still moral lines that cannot be crossed. America recoiled in disgust at the sights and sounds of children in fenced cages, lying on mats under foil sheets, sobbing and wailing for parents whose whereabouts were unknown. Iris Eufragio-Mancia, an undocumented immigrant from Honduras separated from her son on his sixth birthday, told NBC News: “Those cells are full of tears.” Condemnation came from the Pope, the United Nations and observers who drew parallels with concentration camps.

But what distinguished this from the regular drumbeat of Trump panics was that even some of his most devout supporters had to admit to feeling queasy. His wife went public with concerns; his eldest daughter reportedly lobbied behind the scenes. Otherwise oleaginous Republicans scented danger in the midterm elections, though they danced around criticism of Trump himself. And when a deluge of TV coverage portrayed his government as callous and cruel, the master of the medium knew the game was up. Steele added: “There’s no doubt it absolutely was the critical piece that changed this around for the president because you cannot argue with the image of a three-year-old child standing at her mother’s side crying as she’s being handcuffed and taken from her no matter how much you try, no matter how much you try to rally your base around it. Some of the polling started to show even members of his base thought, ‘Well that that may be a little bit too far – maybe.’”.. read more: