Josh Hawley wants to be senator.
Across the nation, Republicans are scrambling to distance themselves from President Donald Trump's immigration policies, which currently include children being separated from their parents and warehoused in cages — oops, "detention centers."
But Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley doesn't seem too troubled by the piteous cries coming from the little tikes
. Even as Republicans across the U.S. spoke out against the family separations, Hawley used the occasion to criticize .... Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri).
A tiny bit of background: Much as Trump himself may want to deny it, immigration officials began separating adult immigrants from their children in mid-April as part of a "zero tolerance" approach
mandating adult prosecutions. Officials confirm that more that more than 1,900 kids have since been separated from their parents. In some cases, their parents have even been deported without them.
The policy has drawn widespread condemnation, with everyone from former First Lady Laura Bush on down expressing horror
. But Hawley is the first person we've seen so far to blame McCaskill. And along with the fact she's had nothing to do with policies propagated by Trump's administration, we will note that scapegoating her seems a wee bit convenient .... after all, Hawley's hoping to replace her in Washington.
Asked by the Springfield News-Leader
"what they thought of the family separation issue, and immigration policy more broadly," here's what Hawley had to say
"The whole immigration system is a disaster, and Claire McCaskill should answer for that: she’s been in D.C. for over a decade and she has shown zero leadership to secure the border, stop sanctuary cities, or protect American workers," Hawley said in a statement. "Nobody wants to see children and parents separated, just like no one should want to see illegal drugs and gangs pouring across our border. But none of that will change until McCaskill and the D.C. crowd take some responsibility and build the wall and secure the border."
Just classic Republican talking points? Well, not really — this particular policy directive has proven so ugly that even Senator Roy Blunt (R-Missouri), hardly a profile in courage on most days, is washing his hands of it. Here's how Blunt responded to the same question:
"We clearly have a border security problem," Blunt told the News-Leader in a statement. "I agree with Mrs. Bush and Mrs. Trump that separating families does not meet the standard of who we are as a country.
Strengthening our border security and upholding our laws in a manner consistent with our values will help facilitate progress toward addressing all aspects of our broken immigration system." (Emphasis added.)
Can you be a heartless bastard and win in a Missouri Republican primary? Time will tell. After all, voters have a choice, even if they don't like McCaskill — Austin Petersen is also running in the primary for the chance to talk on McCaskill, and he issued a much more clear condemnation of the president's policies.
"The U.S. has put a band aid on the bullet wound of failed immigration policy for far too long. Separating families is a terrible policy that must change immediately
," he said (emphasis added). "We desperately need immigration reform that removes the incentives for illegal immigration, keeps children safe from human trafficking, and prioritizes the swift prosecution of illegal aliens engaged in violent crime."
Wondering what McCaskill herself says about the matter? "The idea that this policy is being used for deterrence and Congressional leverage is offensive," she told the paper. "I need answers from DHS concerning the care of these children and their failure to even reunite children before they fly their parents out of the country."
At least voters will have a clear choice (or two) this fall?
We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at email@example.com
- Sign up for our weekly newsletters to get the latest on the news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.
- Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.