The Trump administration’s family separation policy has backfired spectacularly, and unsurprisingly, w congressional Republicans are tripping over themselves to distance themselves from it.
Republican strategists have been freaking out for days about how the family separation policy, which is incredibly unpopular among just about everyone except for diehard Republicans, could impact their already tenuous grip on the House majority. And today, Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado publicly called for the firing of Stephen Miller and others in the administration who pushed the zero-tolerance policy.
Coffman once co-sponsored a bill to make English the official language of the United States, and on another occasion, suggested that native Spanish speakers should “pull out a dictionary” if they wanted to understand their ballots. But in 2012 was redistricted to what the New York Times called the “most diverse district in Colorado,” one which went for Hillary Clinton by nine points in 2016. Coincidentally, in the past few years, Coffman has discovered that immigrants aren’t monsters.
As in 2016, Democrats see flipping this district as integral to their chances of winning the House; the DCCC targeted the district as part of its Red to Blue campaign and endorsed corporate lawyer and veteran Jason Crow to try to flip the seat. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer personally got involved, asking Levi Tillemann, a more liberal candidate, to drop out of the race so Crow had an easier path to the nomination.
Earlier this week, Rep. Steve Stivers of Ohio—the National Republican Congressional Committee, the Republican equivalent of the DCCC—wrote on Facebook that he would “support other means to stop unnecessary separation of children and their parents” if the administration didn’t ease up its policy.
“As a father, I know firsthand that there is nothing more important than family, and I understand why kids need to be with their parents,” he said. “That’s why I have publicly come out against separating children from their parents at the border.”
Even in the Senate, where Republicans have a much better chance of keeping their majority, right-wing Sen. Ted Cruz came out against the family separation policy. It’s probably no coincidence that he did, either, considering the Democrats are putting up their strongest statewide challenge in Texas in years—Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke is currently polling within single digits of Cruz—and a Texas Tribune poll found that the family separation policy is polling with an abysmal 26 percent approval rating among Texans.
Of course, the Republican Party enabled the fucked up nativism that ultimately resulted in this fascist policy; if they lose because of that policy, they’ll have no one to blame but themselves. For the families that were ripped apart and the ones that are now going to be put in detention together now, however—possibly indefinitely—that’s not going to be much of a consolation, unless the opposition party that replaces them finally resolves to learn its lesson.