“Why didn’t he do this 2,000 kids ago?” Tapper asked at the top of The Lead on Wednesday afternoon.
“Under assault from all sides over a policy that separated children from their parents at the border, President Trump did something today that we have never before seen him do as president,” Tapper added. “He surrendered, taking a step that for weeks he falsely insisted was not possible.”
“The president claimed he was not backing down,” the host continued, “but he did just sign an executive order that he said would, quote, ‘keep families together while ensuring we have a powerful border.’ The president acknowledging there was pressure from both his wife and his daughter, Ivanka, to end the separation policy that his own administration instituted.”
Tapper then reiterated to viewers that Trump’s executive order was not some heroic move by a “compassionate” president, but rather a “rare retreat by a president who prides himself on never apologizing.”
It was a point that CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins echoed when she joined Tapper from the White House lawn. “What we are witnessing is something we rarely if ever have seen from President Trump, and that is Trump backing down,” she said.
Collins also pointed out that Trump signed his executive order seated next to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who tweeted just three days ago, “We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period.”