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Malevolence and Incompetence: Trump Administration More Interested in Shifting Blame Than Reuniting Families

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Azar Blames Courts and Congress for Trump Actions on Child Separation

Yesterday encapsulated how the Trump administration is more concerned about shifting blame than solving the family separation crisis of their own creation. During a press briefing with reporters, HHS Secretary Alex Azar embodied and underscored the mixture of malevolence and incompetence that defines the Trump administration on the family separation issue.

As Caitlin Dickerson of the New York Times reported, the Trump administration:

acknowledged for the first time Thursday that of the nearly 3,000 children who are still in federal custody, about 100 are under the age of 5 … Records linking children to their parents have disappeared, and in some cases have been destroyed, according to two officials of the Department of Homeland Security, leaving the authorities struggling to identify connections between family members. The effort is complicated by the fact that two federal agencies are involved in detaining and sheltering migrants, and they did not initially share records with each other.

And as the Wall Street Journal highlighted, Secretary Azar “told reporters the administration was working to overcome obstacles to follow the order but blamed the courts, Congress and immigrant parents for the crisis.”

Meanwhile, as Secretary Azar pointed fingers and engaged in bureaucratic doublespeak, more details and first-person accounts of the horrors of the family separation policy continue to emerge:

As Judy Woodruff of PBS Newshour tweeted yesterday, “14 month old boy separated from immigrant parents at the border, was returned after 85 days, covered with lice, had apparently not been bathed – part of lawsuits filed by states against Trump administration”

Read PBS Newshour’s account of some of the damning details embedded in a new lawsuit by states challenging the Trump administration’s family separation policy.

Read the Twitter thread from Adam Klasfeld of Courthouse News similarly lifting up devastating excerpts from the lawsuit.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

Alex Azar has quickly adopted the Trump management style: blame everyone else, feel sorry for yourself, take no responsibility for your actions. It was breathtaking to hear him blame the courts for their mandate to bring children together with the parents — when it was Trump’s policy that broke them apart in the first place. This administration does not seem serious about resolving the crisis they manufactured. We are in the midst of a moral crisis of historic proportions, and the Trump administration seems more interested in shifting blame than in reuniting families.