Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump’s former 2016 campaign manager who has remained close to Trump and often serves as a television spokesperson for Trump, was told a heartbreaking story about the plight of a 10-year-old child separated from her family by the United States government at the Mexican border — and he reacted in a heartless fashion.
As The Daily Beast reported, Lewandowski was making an appearance on Fox News where he debated Democratic political strategist Zac Petkanas over Trump’s policy of splitting children from their parents and placing them in detention camps when the families reach the U.S.-Mexican border.
According to Petkanas, in one particularly heart-wrenching incident, a 10-year old girl who has Down Syndrome was taken from her mother and confined to “a cage” by immigration officials during a recent border crossing. But Lewandowski was unmoved, responding with a derisive “sad trombone” sound — “womp, womp!” as Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo described it.
Petkanas, a former Hillary Clinton campaign staffer who went on to run a “Trump War Room” for the Democratic National Committee, according to The Hill, snapped at Lewandowski’s seemingly unfeeling response to the story of the Down Syndrome child.
“How dare you. How absolutely dare you, sir,” an outraged Petkanas replied, after Lewandowski’s “womp, womp” response, which may be seen in the video below.
When tempers cooled slightly, Lewandowski tried to claim that Trump’s family separation policy was actually the same policy carried out by the Barack Obama administration. But the Democratic strategist quickly fact-checked the Trump surrogate, as MediaIte reported, explaining that under Obama, children were detained separately from their parents almost exclusively when they arrived at the border unaccompanied by any adult.
“You are now lying about this policy, in addition to just saying, ‘womp, womp.’ The difference now is they are accompanied minors, but the Trump Administration is forcibly making them unaccompanied minors when they take them from their parents and put them in cages. And we have members of the Trump team who are going womp womp when you learn about the stories — the horror that is going on down at the border.”
The claim that the policy of splitting immigrant families, in some cases permanently, was started by Obama or “the Democrats” has been made frequently by Trump and his surrogates, but as The Washington Post reported, the claim is simply false.
“Immigrant families are being separated primarily because the Trump administration in April began to prosecute as many border-crossing offenses as possible. This zero-tolerance policy applies to all adults, regardless of whether they cross alone or with their children,” according to The Post. “The Justice Department can’t prosecute children along with their parents, so the natural result of the zero-tolerance policy has been a sharp rise in family separations.”
Between May 5 and June 9, a total of 2,342 children were taken from their parents and placed in the detention centers, according to Trump administration officials cited by the news site Vox. The Trump policy is now ripping children from their parents at a rate of 65 per day according to the statistics cited by Vox.