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That Viral Clip Of DOJ Attorney Arguing Kids Don’t Need Beds Or Toothbrushes To Be ‘Safe And Sanitary’? Here’s The Real Story.

Protestors led by a coalition of interfaith religious leaders demonstrate against US immigration policy that separates parents from their children, June 23, 2018 outside the Otay Mesa Detention Center in San Diego, California.
ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

Last week, as the media and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) desperately tried to debate the meaning of “concentration camps,” left-wing agitator NowThis News put out a clip ostensibly showing a Trump administration official discussing the finer points of sanitation.

 

The clip went viral, of course, and was used to attack the Trump administration as uncaring monsters hellbent on abusing children who have been brought into the U.S. illegally by adults. But as A.G. Hamilton wrote in National Review, the clip does not show what it claims.

“Indeed, the hearing in the video was related not to actions taken by the Trump administration, but to a challenge of a 2017 ruling that the CBP under the Obama administration had violated the Flores Settlement agreement with its treatment of children in custody,” Hamilton wrote (emphasis original).

Yet again, we have an instance of the media using something that happened under former President Barack Obama to attack President Donald Trump. Hamilton wrote that the judge in the case seen in the viral video listed “specific infractions that she felt were in violation of the ‘safe and sanitary’ requirement under the Flores agreement.” The judge then requested that a monitor be appointed at multiple facilities where children were housed to ensure their conditions met the “safe and sanitary” requirement.

 

The Department of Justice attorney in the video, Sarah Fabian, was arguing that items like toothbrushes and beds weren’t specifically mentioned in the Flores Settlement. As Hamilton wrote, she “was not arguing that the United States should decline to provide those items to children.”

 

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals did not buy her argument. Fabian’s job is to make such legal arguments, and she has been doing so under multiple administrations. The NowThis News clip deceptively edited her remarks to make her appear callous. The fact that so many “news” outlets ran with the angle that a DOJ official – and thus a Trump administration official – doesn’t think children need beds or soap or toothbrushes to be taken care of raises a good question, as Hamilton noted:

Predictably, the vast majority of the people and the outlets that shared this exchange failed to note that the violations being discussed had occurred during the previous administration, while those who did know failed to ask themselves (and others) why the violations didn’t receive similar coverage when they were first exposed. Instead, they jumped straight to the conclusion that the federal government, headed up by President Trump, was deliberately inflicting pain on babies. This isn’t true.

But, Hamilton wrote, it is also not true that the Obama administration was indifferent toward the care of minors in border facilities. The flood of immigrants has overloaded the system for years, and due to limited resources and additional immigrants – and the fact that the government can’t run anything efficiently – we’re left with images and videos showing children living in substandard conditions.

This, however, is not the first time the media have blamed the Trump administration for something that happened during the Obama administration. As The Daily Wire’s Ryan Saavedra previously reported, the media showed no anger when these issues came up during the previous administration.

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