Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams said Tuesday that she thinks President Donald Trump will reinstate the practice of separating families at the southern border despite his public denials that he is looking to do so.
“I believe that he intends to restart a program that is vicious, that is ineffective, and that is long-term harmful not only to the children and families that he separates, but to the core of who we are as Americans,” Abrams said.
She also accused him of being xenophobic, specifically toward people of color.
“I believe that he is misleading the American public as he often does – in part because he has no real plan other than to push forward his, I think, very strong xenophobia that is unfortunately directed largely at South America and Central America, but I think at large is directed at people of color,” she added.
Trump denied earlier on Tuesday that his administration is looking to resume the separation of parents and children at the US-Mexico border. On Monday, senior administration officials told CNN’s Jake Tapper that in the last four months or so, the President had been pushing then-Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to enforce a stricter and more widespread “zero-tolerance” immigration policy.
According to multiple sources, the President wanted families separated even if they came in at a legal port of entry and were legal asylum seekers. The President wanted families separated even if they were apprehended within the US. He thinks the separations work to deter migrants from coming.
Trump repeatedly denied that was the case on Tuesday.
“We’re not looking to do that, no. We’re not looking to do that,” Trump said.
But, he added, “when you don’t do it, it brings a lot more people to the border.”
When asked whether she agreed with Minnesota Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar calling senior White House adviser Stephen Miller a white nationalist, Abrams replied, “I believe that what we have seen from Stephen Miller is vestiges of white nationalism.”
“The problem is we’ve never been able to fully investigate who he is and where he stands because he holds a position that is not subject to public vetting,” she added. “And that’s one of the deepest concerns that I have, that this is a person who’s directing the Department of Homeland Security – the third largest agency in this nation, that’s responsible for protecting us – but the person who is pulling the strings does not seem to care about protecting many Americans.”