Sunday, June 17, 2018


The New York Times has come in for a lot of criticism in the Trump era, much of it deserved. The Times is often compared unfavorably to the Trump-era Washington Post.

But the Post's Karen Tumulty gets this absolutely wrong:
Melania Trump, the most reticent first lady since Pat Nixon, has done an admirable thing. She has lent her voice to those who oppose the Trump administration’s heinous policy of separating migrant children from their parents.

The statement issued through her spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham, cautious as it is, bears careful reading:
“Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform. She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart.”
... the last sentence in particular is a stark — and, yes, I’ll say it, brave — rejection of her husband’s repeated efforts to shift the blame for this to anyone else.
Um, if Melania is calling on "both sides" to solve a problem entirely created by President Trump and his administration, how is that a "rejection of her husband’s repeated efforts to shift the blame for this to anyone else"?

The Times gets it right, starting with the headline:
Melania Trump Calls on ‘Both Sides’ to End Family Separation, Echoing President’s False Claim
That's how you do it.

(UPDATE: The headline has changed now.)

The story, by Peter Baker, tells us this:
In a statement issued by her office, the first lady expressed empathy for affected families, saying the country should be governed “with a heart,” but did not directly take issue with President Trump’s policy. Instead, by saying that “both sides” needed to agree, she adopted his argument that the situation was caused by political stalemate rather than a policy he initiated.

... The president has falsely blamed Democrats for the situation, saying that he was simply enforcing a law that they had written. But no law requires families to necessarily be separated at the border. Children have been taken away from their parents because of a Trump administration “zero tolerance” policy enacted this year to prosecute all unlawful immigrants as criminals.
Melania isn't challenging her husband -- this is part of the administration's bamboozlement process. Stephen Miller embraces the family separation policy, Kirsjen Nielsen says family separation isn't administration policy, the president blames it on Democrats -- it's all one big "sorry not sorry," with Miller speaking to the immigrant-haters, the president speaking to the Democrat-haters, and Nielsen and Melania attempting to confuse everyone else. The Post's Tumulty got fooled; at the Times, Baker wasn't. Score one for the Times.

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