On Monday, CNN’s Anderson Cooper argued that given reports President Donald Trump wanted to reinstate his administration’s family separation policy, cruelty was not a bug, but instead “a feature” of the president’s system of governance.
Cooper played a clip from March 2017 of former White House chief of staff John Kelly when being asked about family separation saying, “Yes, I am considering in order to deter more movement along this terribly dangerous network, I am considering exactly that.”
Copper said, “So, ‘in order to deter,’ that means it’s a deterrent policy. The bottom line, this is something administration officials discussed and Secretary Nielsen implemented, defended and lied about. It is a real policy that the president clearly wanted. And we’re learning tonight that he now wants to reinstate and expand apparently.”
He added, “In fact, as you’re about to hear from our Jake Tapper’s reporting, the president, whether he likes it or not, has explicitly embraced the notion of family separation. The cruelty is not a bug of the system, it’s a feature, which may have been a bridge too far for Secretary Nielsen, but even if it was, it comes at the end of a very, very long road which she has been traveling for a very, very long time.”
Network host Jake Tapper said, “According to senior administration officials, multiple, the president not only thinks that the original policy started by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and implemented by others in the administration, including Secretary Nielsen, which would take individuals’ families that are crossing the border illegally between different legal ports and prosecute them, thus separating the families, he wants to expand it. Not only does he want that policy back, he wants to separate families of asylum seekers who come to the border, or a family of undocumented immigrants found and detained in St. Louis, Missouri. He thinks it is an effective deterrent, so he wants it brought back but expanded and made far more widespread.”
He added, “This senior administration official says that the president is very fixated on this, very focused on this. He thinks that it was an effective deterrent during the December months, during the winter months, December, et cetera and doesn’t understand why they’re not doing it, even though it was his own executive order that stopped the policy.”
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