Screenshot: C-SPAN

After a day-long horror show of stories, images, and audio—including of young undocumented children crying out for their parents as a Border Patrol agent mocked them—coming out of the centers where thousands of kids are detained, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen came to the White House briefing room podium smiling before telling lie after lie after lie.

When she was asked about that audio—which was obtained and published by ProPublica not long before the briefing Monday afternoon—and images showing children housed in cages, Nielsen claimed she wasn’t familiar with the audio, but said she’d been to detention centers and knows they uphold “standards” for the children’s care.

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At another point in the briefing, she helpfully pointed out that the centers—which are generally converted big-box stores and warehouses—boast such amenities as TVs and toys.

When asked point-blank how keeping undocumented kids in cages doesn’t constitute “child abuse,” Nielsen punted yet again:

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She went on to say that she’s “not in any position” to deal with “hearsay stories” of child abuse taking place in detention centers.

Pressed further about whether the administration is cravenly using vulnerable children as political pawns, she said she found the suggestion “offensive.” Oddly enough, when John Kelly was head of Homeland Security, he didn’t shy away from saying taking kids away from parents was absolutely intended as a deterrent from crossing the border illegally.

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“Claiming these children and their parents are mistreated is simply not true,” she said.

When a White House reporter asked why only photos of boys in detention have been publicly released, rather than any with girls or extremely young children, Nielsen couldn’t adequately answer the question, saying that’s one for the Department of Health and Human Services to handle.

“I don’t know,” she replied. “I’m not familiar with those particular images.”

As has become the administration’s frequent refrain, Nielsen again insisted that DHS is simply enforcing the laws as Congress wrote them, and said they could “fix this tomorrow!” if they wanted to. As we—and myriad other outlets—have pointed out, this is simply not true, and the separations come as a result of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ instituting a “zero tolerance” policy at the border.

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She even lied about whether the policy is really a “policy.”

We are through the looking glass.

And all the while, Nielsen dehumanized the “alien children” at the heart of this issue and insisted America is “a country of compassion. We are a country of heart.”

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But those are just words. Based on today’s briefing, we won’t be seeing those values put into practice any time soon.