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Trump Family Horror over Cruelty of Trump’s Policy of Separating Kids From Their Parents at the Border

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Mary Trump: “…the separating of children from their parents; the torture, the kidnapping, and the incarceration of them in cages, was unthinkable, unbearable”


One of the most morally abhorrent chapters in American history is the Trump administration’s policy to rip kids from their parents in hopes that the cruelty would deter future arrivals. 

In July, we learned that the unforgivable crime of intentionally separating families played a major role in the decision of Mary Trump, a niece of the President, to publish a tell-all memoir. Now we learn that Mary Trump secretly recorded her aunt, Maryanne Barry Trump, a former federal judge and sister to the President, who similarly was horrified by the practice.

Last month, Mary Trump talked to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow about what prompted her public disclosures. She said:

“I can’t say that there was a last straw because there had been so many straws. But certainly the horrors at the border — you know, the separating of children from their parents; the torture, the kidnapping, and the incarceration of them in cages, was unthinkable, unbearable, and when an opportunity presented itself to me to do something, I needed to take a leap.”

Meanwhile, the Washington Post article on the audio tapes featuring Maryanne Trump Barry notes: 

“Maryanne Trump Barry was serving as a federal judge when she heard her brother, President Trump, suggest on Fox News, ‘maybe I’ll have to put her at the border’ amid a wave of refugees entering the United States. At the time, children were being separated from their parents and put in cramped quarters while court hearings dragged on.

‘All he wants to do is appeal to his base,’ Barry said in a conversation secretly recorded by her niece, Mary L. Trump. ‘He has no principles. None. None. And his base, I mean my God, if you were a religious person, you want to help people. Not do this.’

…Lamenting ‘what they’re doing with kids at the border,’ she guessed her brother ‘hasn’t read my immigration opinions’ in court cases. In one case, she berated a judge for failing to treat an asylum applicant respectfully.”

Reporting last week from NBC’s Julia Ainsley and Jacob Soboroff also found that family separation was supported near-unanimously by Trump’s cabinet – not just Stephen Miller:

“In early May 2018, after weeks of phone calls and private meetings, 11 of the president’s most senior advisers were called to the White House Situation Room, where they were asked, by a show-of-hands vote, to decide the fate of thousands of migrant parents and their children … No one in the meeting made the case that separating families would be inhumane or immoral, the officials said. Any moral argument about immigration ‘fell on deaf ears’ inside the White House, one of the officials said. 

‘Miller was tired of hearing about logistical problems,’ one of the officials said. ‘It was just ‘Let’s move forward and staff will figure this out.’ Frustrated, Miller accused Nielsen of stalling and demanded a show of hands. Who was in favor of moving forward? he asked. A sea of hands went up. Nielsen kept hers down. It was clear she had been outvoted, according to the officials.”

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

“We are a nation that values families, regardless of background or birthplace. But not this administration and not this version of the Republican party. 

Never forget. Trump, Stephen Miller, and leading administration officials are responsible for one of the worst human rights atrocities in our generation. They decided to take crying babies, toddlers and teenagers from their parents, without any system to eventually reunite them. Stephen Miller may have been the evil architect, but the administration implemented it and most Republicans said nothing until the courts stepped in to stop it and Trump pretended to halt it by executive order.

When speakers at this week’s Republican Convention attack immigrants and embrace Dear Leader Trump for his tough stance on immigration, remember what they have done — and continue doing — in our name and with our tax dollars. The separation of families was not inadvertent, it was intentional. It’s one of the most visceral examples of how the Republican demonization of immigrants comes at a tremendous cost to real lives and our values. 

Evidently, it not only outraged the vast majority of Americans, it so outraged some of Trump’s own family members that it moved them to speak up.”

Reminders why family separation is politically toxic for Republicans

  • In December 2019, The Upshot in the New York Times showcased findings from the Democracy Fund and UCLA’s “Nationscape Project” — a massive-sample of opinions from 110,000 people nationwide. The polling found that the single top-ranked priority issue among Democrats of more than 50 issues tested was “don’t separate immigrant children at southern border.” 92% of Democrats opposed this policy. Among independents, it ranked as the second-most important issue, with 84% opposed to family separation. Even 54% of Republicans opposed family separations.
  • From a 2018 FiveThirtyEight polling summary: a collection of polls “found that about two-thirds of the American public oppose the policy…in the partisan era in which we live, it’s noteworthy that Trump’s policy has only about half of Republicans on board.”
  • In September 2018, the Associated Press’s Julie Pace referenced an “internal GOP poll obtained by The Associated Press,” which found that “Trump’s approval rating among independents in congressional battleground districts dropped 10 points between June and August. A GOP official who oversaw the survey attributed the drop to negative views of Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and the White House’s policy of separating immigrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.”
  • In July 2018, National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar wrote that the “family separation border policy badly hurt Rs with suburban women, some of whom voted for Trump in ‘16.” He added that “in the roller-coaster ride that is the Trump presidency, this has been a disastrous summer for Republicans. The backlash against his administration’s draconian family-separation policy cost the party support among moderate suburbanites.”