Speaking with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence was given a chance to commit to improving the appalling conditions in which migrant children detained by the government are being kept. Instead, Pence squirmed, dodged, and at one point chuckled his way through an intensely uncomfortable exchange, desperately trying to blame anyone and everyone but the Trump administration for locking children away like dogs in a kennel.
“Aren’t toothbrushes and blankets and medicine basic conditions for kids?” Tapper asked Pence, after playing a clip of Department of Justice attorney Sarah Fabian arguing that those things weren’t necessarily part of the government’s responsibility for caring for minors. “Aren’t they a part of how the United States of America—the Trump administration—treats children?”
“Well, of course they are Jake,” Pence answered, claiming he can’t “speak to what that lawyer was saying.”
Pence went on to blame Democrats for denying the Department of Homeland Security funds to expand detention facilities during the last round of budget negotiations. But when Tapper pointed out that these were conditions the administration could address right now, asking “why aren’t we?” Pence simply laughed.
“My point is it’s all a part of the appropriations process,” he weakly answered.
Pence then continued to name check Congress, traffickers, and the Mexican government for America’s immigration issues, without once admitting that the administration could, if it wanted to, provide basic amenities like blankets and toothbrushes to children it has kept locked away for weeks on end.