Remember Brian Karem? This isn’t the first time he’s thrown a tantrum at one of Sanders’s press briefings to applause from his friends in the media hashtag-Resistance. Personally, I think it’s nice of the White House to provide him with this televised platform to express himself.
What a neat perk for the press corps and their extremely important opinions.
Whenever I have mixed feelings about a thorny issue like temporary separation of illegal families, a little public grandstanding from a journalist never fails to reach me.
"Come on Sarah, you're a parent. Don't you have any empathy for what these people are going through?" CNN political analyst Brian Karem presses White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on family separations at the US-Mexico border https://t.co/b6r513WU0R pic.twitter.com/FqdjUK4Jhe
— CNN (@CNN) June 14, 2018
On the one hand, separating kids from parents really is a draconian deterrent. On the other hand, the modern Democratic Party doesn’t support deterrents to illegal immigration, full stop. And I don’t mean the lefty fringes of the party; I mean the party. Review Hillary Clinton’s statements on immigration two years ago and remind yourself that, as with abortion, the left is far more of an absolutist contingent on this issue than the right is. Their position, as articulated piecemeal by Hillary on the stump, is that any non-criminal who wants to bring his family here should be allowed to. Forced to choose between a draconian deterrent and no deterrent, what do you do?
There’s bad faith in their position too. Last night there was a tornado on Twitter when reporters started posting photos from a shelter for separated kids being run by the feds. It was a prison! There was even a mural of Trump painted on the wall next to a quote about victory, in creepy vintage MAGA cultish fashion. But read WaPo’s story about the facility, which is nicely balanced. Turns out there’s a mural of Obama too. The kids go to class, there’s a rec room, they get a few hours outside to play, there are medical exam rooms, etc etc. It’s a dorm, essentially — a dreary one (it’s housed in what used to be a Walmart) and certainly not preferable to bunking with mom and dad, but it’s not Leavenworth. Kids are gone in an average of 49 days. I’m open to a softer deterrent. I’m not open to the Democratic alternative, which is no deterrent.
Paul Ryan told reporters this morning that he doesn’t like the policy either and that he’s willing to end it by legislation — but of course he’ll insist on some other enforcement measures as his price. And true to form, the leader of the no-deterrent caucus won’t go for that:
Pelosi accused Ryan of being insincere in his claim to want to end the separation policy. If he were, she charged, he could bring legislation to the floor by a fast-track process — known as suspension rules — almost immediately.
“What do we do here? We do nothing,” she said. “This could have been something taken up under suspension in a minute, if there was a real sincere effort to do it.”
Anyway. With a grandstanding vibe running through the press room, you know our pal Jim Acosta wasn’t going to let Karem show him up in a display of sanctimony. I’ll leave you with this clip of his Q&A with Sanders in lieu of an exit question.
— Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) June 14, 2018