Hours after President Trump falsely claimed his predecessor was the one responsible for separating migrant children from their families, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith and chief White House correspondent John Roberts tag-teamed to deliver a comprehensive fact-check of the president’s lies.
During a press spray at the White House on Tuesday, Trump repeated the falsehood that President Obama’s administration instituted the specific policy of separating families at the border, wildly claiming he was “the one that stopped it” while insisting that he isn’t looking at reinstating his zero-tolerance policy to stem the flow of migrants at the southern border.
“President Obama separated the children,” Trump exclaimed. “Those cages that were shown, I think they were very inappropriate. They were built by President Obama's administration. Not by Trump. President Obama had child separation. Take a look. The press knows it, you know it, we all know it.”
Noting that Trump has made similarly false claims in the past when it comes to the separation of migrant families, Smith went on to highlight how both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations had operations to arrest, imprison, and deport those here illegally, but they gave children a pass and tended to keep families together.
“There were exceptions, but it was not the policy to separate,” Smith said of the Obama administration. “After President Trump issued the zero tolerance order, officials did separate children from their parents. Some families have not yet been reunited.”
As for the use of cages, Smith pointed out that “it is true” that the Obama administration kept some children in “chain-linked enclosures” during a 2014 surge in border crossings, adding that the administration “started jailing families together as family units.” The Fox anchor also said reporting shows that “Obama administration officials considered separating families, but opted not to do so."
“The Trump administration did separate families,” Smith declared. “The Trump Department of Homeland Security estimates more than 2,300 children had been separated from their families by last spring. And the Trump administration did detain children in cages. An unknown number of those children is still not back with their families.”
Later in the segment, while reporting on Trump insisting that he’s not looking to reinstate family separations, Roberts addressed the president’s claims that “President Obama had the law” and “we changed” it.
“The accurate reporting is that the zero-tolerance policy about prosecuting head of household was enacted under the Trump administration,” Roberts stated.