WASHINGTON (AP) - Deflect blame for the bad things. Take undue credit for the good things.
Trump tried to lay responsibility on Democrats for the separation of children from parents at the border, even though the policy comes from his own administration. He cited outdated numbers to boast about a decline in illegal border crossings.
Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt claimed credit for pollution cleanups done mostly by the Obama administration while flubbing facts about his 2017 condo deal and blaming underlings for his ethical woes.
A look at Trump’s statements at a forum with California officials on immigration and Pruitt’s testimony to a Senate committee:
TRUMP to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Wednesday: “I know what you’re going through right now with families is very tough but those are the bad laws that the Democrats gave us. We have to break up families. The Democrats gave us that law. It’s a horrible thing where you have to break up families. The Democrats gave us that law and they don’t want to do anything about it. They’ll leave it like that ‘cause they don’t want to make any changes. And now you’re breaking up families because of the Democrats. It’s terrible.”
THE FACTS: Not so. No law that “the Democrats gave us” mandates the separation of children from their parents at the border.
A 2008 law designed to combat child trafficking has been described by Trump and his administration as a principal reason for “catch-and-release” policies that he’s trying to end at the border....The law says children traveling alone from countries other than Mexico or Canada must be released in the “least restrictive setting” - often to family or a government-run shelter - while their cases slowly wind through immigration court. It was designed to accommodate an influx of children fleeing to the U.S. from Central America.It had the support of Republicans and Democrats, passing the House and Senate unanimously. Republican George W. Bush signed it into law as one of his last acts as president.The law says nothing about breaking up families. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently announced a “zero tolerance” policy for illegal entries, pledging to criminally prosecute people with few or no previous offenses. If parents are jailed, they are separated from children who joined them under protocols described in the 2008 law.Administration officials have acknowledged that about 700 children have been separated from their parents since October. That figure is certain to increase once the zero-tolerance policy takes hold; nearly 50,000 Border Patrol arrests since October were of people who came as families. That’s about 1 in 4 arrests by the