This week, the Democrat House Oversight and Reform Committee tweeted out an announcement of a hearing on “Kids in Cages: Inhumane Treatment on the Border” which included a photograph showing rows of immigrant children lying under tinfoil blankets inside fenced detainment cells.
“Last week, members of our committee visited a detention center at the southern border and discovered grotesque treatment of children,” the Oversight committee tweeted. “This week, we are examining the inhumane treatment of the children in these detention centers.” The “Kids in Cages” hearing, the committee announced, would be held at 2 p.m. on Wednesday. The background of the tweet featured the photograph from an immigrant detention center. The initial announcement of the hearing last week contained a similar background photograph.
The Washington Examiner published a screenshot of the tweet:
But, as the Examiner reports, the tweets were scrubbed after the Republican House Oversight and Reform Committee forced their Democratic counterparts to finally look at the date of the photograph: 2014, the middle of Barack Obama’s second term.
“You all know that’s a picture from 2014, right? Remind us who was President then,” the Republicans tweeted. They followed that up with an Associated Press fact-check: “The photos, taken by The Associated Press, were from 2014, during the Obama administration, but were presented by liberal activists as if they showed the effects of Trump’s immigration policy now,” AP reported in May 2018.
The “very embarrassing” goof gave Trump a chance to highlight that the immigration crisis started long before he came into office and the Democrats’ cries of the “inhumane treatment” of kids reek of hypocrisy.
“Democrats had to quickly take down a tweet called ‘Kids In Cages, Inhumane Treatment at the Border,’ because the horrible picture used was from the Obama years. Very embarrassing!” Trump tweeted Thursday morning, citing Fox News morning show “Fox & Friends.”
The Examiner notes that Trump’s campaign has also called out the mistake: “House Democrats are promoting their ‘civil rights’ hearing on ‘kids in cages’ and ‘inhumane treatment’ with a photo from 2014, when Joe Biden was Vice President. So dishonest!” the campaign tweeted.
The committee responded to a request for comment from the Examiner by admitting that posting the photo was “an error” but insisting that “there is simply no comparison between the actions of the Obama Administration and the Trump Administrations” because the Obama administration did not “separate children from their families” — except “in an extremely small number of cases when there was a true danger to the child’s safety,” that is.
Here is AP’s full fact-check of the photographs from 2014 that were recirculated in 2018 to criticize President Trump:
The photos, taken by The Associated Press, were from 2014, during the Obama administration, but were presented by liberal activists as if they showed the effects of Trump’s immigration policy now. Villaraigosa, Favreau and some others deleted their tweets when the mistake was pointed out.
They had linked to a June 2014 online story by The Arizona Republic titled “First peek: Immigrant children flood detention center.” The story featured photos taken by AP’s Ross D. Franklin at a center run by the Customs and Border Protection Agency in Nogales, Arizona. One photo shows two unidentified female detainees sleeping in a holding cell. The caption refers to U.S. efforts to process 47,000 unaccompanied children at the Nogales center and another one in Brownsville, Texas.
Many tweets used the hashtag “WhereAreOurChildren,” which grew out of testimony in April by a federal official that the U.S. government had lost track of nearly 1,500 unaccompanied minor children it placed with adult sponsors in the U.S.
Trump tweeted: “Democrats mistakenly tweet 2014 pictures from Obama’s term showing children from the Border in steel cages. They thought it was recent pictures in order to make us look bad, but backfires.”
He is right about the misrepresentation, though it’s not clear that many prominent Democrats jumped on this particular Twitter bandwagon.