Laura Bush (remember her?) assails the amoral Trump regime

A prominent Republican has finally come forward to denounce the treacherous Trump team for its amoral actions at the border.

Former first lady Laura Bush

Former first lady Laura Bush speaks Friday, June 23, 2017, during "Stand-To," a summit held by the George W. Bush Institute focused on veteran transition, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

A prominent Republican has finally come forward to denounce the treacherous Trump team for its amoral actions at the border. Granted, it’s only a former First Lady, but at this point, given the fact that most Republicans have forfeited their spines, we’ll take whatever we can get.

So bravo, Laura Bush, for writing last night that the Trump policy of tearing children away from their parents “is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart…These images are eerily reminiscent of the Japanese American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history.”

Her clarity is greatly appreciated because otherwise, we’re stuck with trying to parse the Trump regime’s various lies, rationalizations, and contradictions. As best I can tell, we have outright liars (Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen: “We do not have a policy of separating families at the border. Period”), we have pitiable rationalizers (Trump himself, who says the policy is real but blames it on a nonexistent Democratic law; and Jeff Sessions, who essentially says that consigning diapered kids to cages is blessed by the Bible), and we have truth-tellers who are proud to own the policy and happy to contradict the liars and rationalizers.

The truth-teller is white nationalist Stephen Miller. We shouldn’t be surprised that this soulless ferret has his fingerprints all over the regime’s latest un-American freak show. The senior policy adviser pushed hard for the April decision to criminally prosecute undocumented adults at the border, a decision to that requires jailing them away from their children. He doesn’t even bother to assign fake blame to the Democrats, or to hide behind cherry-picked passages in the Bible. He frankly tells The New York Times: “It was a simple decision by the administration.”

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

Miller was seconded yesterday by Steve Bannon, the fired white nationalist, who told ABC News that tearing kids away from their parents is just fine: “I don’t think you have to justify it.” But at virtually the same hour on NBC News, Kellyanne Conway was saying the opposite. At the White House, she insisted, “nobody likes the policy.” And at virtually the same hour on CBS News, Trump TV lawyer Rudy Giuliani said it’s all Jeff Sessions’ fault: “Jeff is not giving the president the best advice!” Is there even a remote chance that Trump’s craven cast of characters will ever get their stories straight?

This is why it’s refreshing to read Laura Bush’s take. I wouldn’t presume to suggest that she speaks for a silent majority of Republicans. But given the fact that even evangelical Trumper Franklin Graham is attacking the border policy (“It’s disgraceful. It’s terrible to see families ripped apart and I don’t support that one bit”), there is reason to hope that Laura’s sane attitude will become more contagious.

What she says:

“Our government should not be in the business of warehousing children in converted box stores or making plans to place them in tent cities in the desert outside of El Paso…Americans pride ourselves on being a moral nation, on being the nation that sends humanitarian relief to places devastated by natural disasters or famine or war. We pride ourselves on believing that people should be seen for the content of their character, not the color of their skin. We pride ourselves on acceptance. If we are truly that country, then it is our obligation to reunite these detained children with their parents – and to stop separating parents and children in the first place.”

Laura Bush is saying that America is better than this. But at this point, I question whether that’s true.

America, via the vagaries of the Electoral College, hired a demagogue who’d telegraphed his attitude toward immigrants from day one of his candidacy. What’s happening right now – kids crying for their parents, infants being torn away from their breastfeeding mothers – is the brutish extension of everything Trump promised. What’s happening right now in Washington – where, at this writing, not a single Republican senator has signed onto a Democratic bill that would stop this crime against humanity – is merely a perpetuation of the party’s surrender to tinpot tyranny.

Unless or until Trump shelves the policy that has already incarcerated 2000 children away from their parents – and there’s no reason to believe that Trump’s cultists will suddenly feel sympathy for these kids – his destruction of American values will continue apace and we’ll be further down the road to an America we do not recognize.

We’ve rapidly devolved from “Lock her up” to lock the children up. What’s next?

WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal