On June 19, President Donald Trump released a Juneteenth statement in celebration of the anniversary of the end of the Civil War and the emancipation of the United States' last slaves. However, Trump's Juneteenth statement is remarkably ironic, as thousands of migrant kids remain separated from their families thanks to the administration's immigration policy — with many children reportedly locked up in jail-like cages — as a part of its latest "zero tolerance policy." And tons of people have already started to call him out over it.
Trump's statement commemorates the 153rd anniversary of when President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation reached the final remaining slave state, Texas, in 1865. In the message, Trump gives a reminder that "all people are created equal" while praising those who fought to free the people "unjustly held in bondage." Hm. Interesting phrasing.
“This historic moment would not have been possible without the courage and sacrifice of the nearly 200,000 former enslaved and free African Americans who fought for liberty alongside more than 2 million Union servicemen,” Trump’s statement read. “These brave individuals fought to defend the God-given rights of those unjustly held in bondage.”
The statement continues:
As a Nation, we vow to never forget the millions of African Americans who suffered the evils of slavery. Together, we honor the unbreakable spirit and countless contributions of generations of African Americans to the story of American greatness. Today and every day, we recommit ourselves to defending the self-evident truth, boldly declared by our Founding Fathers, that all people are created equal.
Um, I can't be the only one who feels this message is conspicuously oblivious. The government is currently allowing children to be separated from their families and holding immigrants in cages, so I'm just confused as to how Trump came up with this message and didn't think twice about it. It takes a certain level of ignorance and callousness to release a statement celebrating equality and freedom while your administration is reportedly putting children in cages.
Many Twitter users were just as boggled.
His statement comes in the midst of the "zero tolerance policy," which was unveiled by Attorney General Jeff Sessions back in May and says that anyone who attempts to cross into the U.S. without documentation will be prosecuted and separated from their children. In a period of just six weeks after the policy was announced, some 2,000 children have already been separated from their parents, according to CNN, which makes Trump's Juneteenth comments extremely ironic.
His remarks also come just a day after heartbreaking audio of children who were separated from their families at the border was released to the public. The recording was made by an unidentified source and provided to ProPublica by a civil rights lawyer on June 18, and appears to capture children — estimated to be between the ages of 4 and 10 years old — crying inside a Border Patrol facility. During the eight-minute clip, children can be heard begging for their parents, while a border patrol agent makes a joke about their cries. “Well, we have an orchestra here,” the worker says. “What’s missing is a conductor.”
Elite Daily reached out to U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security for comment on the recording and its veracity, but did not receive a reply.
Even so, Trump has been busy attempting to shift the blame to Democrats on the policy. In a series of tweets shared between June 16 and 17, Trump claimed the Democrats could "fix their forced family breakup at the Border by working with Republicans on new legislation." He also advised them not to wait until after the election to work something out because "[they] were going to lose!"
Despite his false claims, the practice of separating parents and children is a result of the Trump administration's crackdown on border security — and not the fault of the Democrats — which makes his comments truly puzzling.
Clearly, Trump just doesn't get it. And TBH, I'm not sure why I expected him to. But hopefully, since he's already acknowledged that "all people are created equal," he'll get the hint soon. Hey, anything is possible.