Democratic politicians, journalists, and top staffers in Barack Obama’s White House whipped themselves into a frenzy Sunday, attributing “disturbing” photos of migrant detention centers to President Donald Trump — before discovering the photos were taken during Obama’s second term as president.
The first wave of viral photos, showing immigrant minors sleeping inside enclosed cages, were featured in an AZCentral.com article — but that didn’t stop far-left activists from decrying the photos.
Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau urged followers to “look at these pictures,” adding that the forcing the Trump administration to return the children to their parents was the “only debate that matters” right now.
Farveau, who later deleted the tweet, admitted to sharing photos taken under his former boss’s watch — but still found a way to shift blame onto the Trump administration.
“These awful pictures are from 2014, when the government’s challenge was reconnecting unaccompanied minors who showed up at the border with family or a safe sponsor,” he wrote.
“Today, in 2018, the government is CREATING unaccompanied minors by tearing them away from family at the border.”
These awful pictures are from 2014, when the government's challenge was reconnecting unaccompanied minors who showed up at the border with family or a safe sponsor.
Today, in 2018, the government is CREATING unaccompanied minors by tearing them away from family at the border. https://t.co/Jgbbnq0djq
— Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) May 27, 2018
Antonio Villaraigosa, former Los Angeles mayor and California gubernatorial candidate, said the photos left him “speechless.”
“This is not who we are as a nation,” he added.
Villaraigosa later deleted his post.
Hello @antonio4ca Why did you delete this tweet? Is it because this was 2014 and you are no longer outraged because who this all happened under? Are you no longer speechless? Help explain, thanks. pic.twitter.com/Qe8Pr9Zac1
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) May 28, 2018
When confronted on why he deleted the tweet, Villaraigosa completely sidestepped the question.
“Taking children from their parents whether it’s under a Democrat president or a Republican one doesn’t make it any more right,” he snapped. “The key issue is not when it started, but when it will end.
“It’s wrong. It’s wrong for Democrats. It’s wrong for Republicans. It’s wrong for Americans.”
Taking children from their parents whether it's under a Democrat president or a Republican one doesn’t make it any more right. The key issue is not when it started, but when it will end. It's wrong. It's wrong for Democrats. It's wrong for Republicans. It's wrong for Americans.
— Antonio Villaraigosa (@antonio4ca) May 28, 2018
CNN reporter Hadas Gold deleted her own tweet, claiming it gave people the “impression” that the photos were recent.
No you did not “give the impression”. You flat out said it. pic.twitter.com/kGJ2PmPVgT
— EducatédHillbilly™ (@RobProvince) May 27, 2018
New York Times Magazine‘s Editor-in-Chief Jake Silverstein called the photos “disturbing” before deleting his tweet. Shortly after, Silverstein claimed he made the massive factual error because he was “distracted [with his] family on the weekend.”
“Correction: this link, which was going around this morning, is from 2014. Still disturbing, of course, but only indirectly related to current situation. My bad (and a good reminder not to RT things while distracted w family on the weekend).”
This can’t be parodied. Welcome back from your nap guys! pic.twitter.com/dQEUTtH0lF
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) May 27, 2018
Linda Sarsour, the co-founder of the Women’s March, opted to leave her tweet up, later slamming the U.S.’s immigration system, which she described as a “disaster” long before the Trump administration.
No amnesia here. Our immigration system is a disaster and was a disaster long before Trump came along. Now it will become increasingly worse under this White Supremacist Administration who have made their hatred for immigrants crystal clear.
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) May 28, 2018
Civil rights activist Shaun King, no stranger to spreading fake news about law enforcement, urged his followers to read the dated article.
“I saw this photo floating around and didn’t know if it was real. It is,” he fumed.
“Children of immigrants are being held in cages, like dogs, at ICE detention centers, sleeping on the floor. It’s an abomination.”
— Stephen Miller (@redsteeze) May 27, 2018
The inaccurately portrayed photos prompted AZCentral.com to issue a public clarification.
“Photos of children at a migrant holding facility have gone viral on social media,” the paper’s official account tweeted. “The pictures are from 2014. They were originally posted with this azcentral article about unaccompanied migrant children who were transported to a facility in Arizona.”
Photos of children at a migrant holding facility have gone viral on social media. The pictures are from 2014. They were originally posted with this azcentral article about unaccompanied migrant children who were transported to a facility in Arizona. https://t.co/2DXdszR0SU
— azcentral (@azcentral) May 27, 2018
While AZCentral’s story claimed to have the “first” look at the Obama ICE detention centers, the paper published its photos nearly two weeks after Breitbart Texas first revealed leaked images of these facilities in June 2014. The Breitbart Texas scoop set off a national debate on illegal border crossings that pushed immigration to the forefront of America’s national elections in both 2014 and 2016.