An utterly disastrous week for Donald Trump
Posted June 22, 2018 4:53 a.m. EDT
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Fresh off one of the best -- or, at the very least, most consequential -- weeks of his presidency, Donald Trump just experienced one of his worst weeks in the White House.
The week was totally defined by the botched handling of the separation of families at the border -- a crisis that the Trump administration created earlier this spring by instituting a "zero-tolerance" policy for people trying to enter the country illegally. Every person who did so was referred for prosecution. And since children can't be detained in a federal prison, children were taken from their parents while those adults were waiting for their day in court.
The week began with Trump talking tough about its border policies -- and casting them as a necessary step to get the border under control. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen held a tone-deaf press briefing Monday night in which she claimed to have not seen pictures of children being detained in cages and repeatedly insisted that the administration was simply enforcing the law (they weren't).
The middle of the week was more of the same with the White House trying to beat back an increasingly intense chorus -- from within the Republican Party -- to end the policy of family separation. Late Wednesday, Trump signed an executive order -- after he and Nielsen insisted only Congress could fix the problem -- that allowed kids to be detained with their parents beyond 20 days. (That executive order faces a perilous legal future.)
The problem didn't disappear, however. By Thursday, it was clear that the Trump administration had no plan for how to locate and reunite the 2,000-plus kids who had already been separated from their families. And word came that the administration was preparing for the possibility of housing up to 20,000 migrant children on military bases around the country -- a size and scope that far eclipsed most peoples' expectations.
Then, Friday. Friday morning in particular, when Trump tweeted this on the ongoing attempts by Republicans in Congress to pass some sort of quasi-comprehensive immigration reform plan: "Republicans should stop wasting their time on Immigration until after we elect more Senators and Congressmen/women in November. Dems are just playing games, have no intention of doing anything to solves this decades old problem. We can pass great legislation after the Red Wave!"
So long any chance of Republicans making a late rally behind legislation that would fully fund Trump's border wall!
From beginning to end, this week was politically disastrous for Trump -- and for Republicans hoping to build momentum heading into the fall campaign. That it came as Trump was nearing his best poll position since taking over as President makes the mishandling of the family separation crisis all the more politically damaging for Republicans in November.
Below, Trump's week -- as told in 45(!) major headlines.
Trump falsely claims rising German crime rate as he pushes immigration debate 'We will not apologize': Trump DHS chief defends immigration policy Trump admin thought family separations would deter immigrants. They haven't. Trump: Space Force and Air Force will be 'separate but equal' DHS Secretary Nielsen denies separation amounts to 'child abuse' Sessions on border separations: 'We're doing the right thing. We're taking care of these children' Trump admin asks Supreme Court lift ban on sanctuary city policy White House scrambles to contain immigration fallout
Trump ramps up rhetoric: Dems want 'illegal immigrants' to 'infest our country' Trump to huddle with Republicans during crucial week on immigration Sessions: Migrant children facilities not like Nazi Germany because 'they were keeping the Jews from leaving' Trump's Hill meeting 'didn't move the ball' on immigration bill Trump officials roll out new rule for small business health insurance plans Melania Trump's favorability dips in new CNN poll Trump trade adviser says tariffs are 'necessary to defend this country' US leaving UN Human Rights Council -- 'a cesspool of political bias' Americans are satisfied with Trump's North Korea summit Trump loses top operations official Trump's personal attorney is 'willing to give info' about the President Embattled DHS chief wins Trump's praise after testy White House briefing
White House proposes combining Education and Labor departments Trump administration: Some children currently in Border Patrol custody will be reunited with parents Trump and Putin plan to meet in mid-July Melania Trump makes surprise visit to border facilities Trump continues to mislead over border crisis, says facilities are 'the nicest' Trump admin wants US Marshals to take over security for Cabinet heads Trump misrepresents North Korea nuclear agreement Trump admin asks judge for permission to detain children with parents past 20 days Melania dons jacket saying 'I really don't care. Do U?' ahead of border visit Trump's family separation course-correction only adds confusion
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