White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders dealt with an irate reporter during Thursday’s press briefing over the detaining and separation of immigrant children from their parents upon crossing the United States southern border.
Earlier in the briefing, Sanders had fielded several questions about the immigrant children and stated President Donald Trump had repeatedly tried to work with Democrats to close loopholes in immigration policies and wanted to avoid “political games.”
CNN’s Brian Karem went on the offensive, noting Sanders is a mother of three children and pushing her to further answer the question over whether she had “empathy” for the immigrant parents and children.
"Come on Sarah, you're a parent. Don't you have any empathy for what these people are going through?" CNN political analyst Brian Karem presses White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on family separations at the US-Mexico border https://t.co/b6r513WU0R pic.twitter.com/FqdjUK4Jhe
— CNN (@CNN) June 14, 2018
“Come on Sarah, you’re a parent. Don’t you have any empathy for what these people are going through?” Karem asked while raising his voice. “They have less than you do.”
Sanders responded by asking Karem to “settle down.” Karen shot back: “Seriously, seriously…You’re telling us it’s a law, and these people have nothing.”
“I’m trying to be serious but I’m not going to have you yell out of turn,” Sanders said over Karem. She continued: “Hey Brian, I know you want to get some more TV time, but that’s not what this is about.”
“It’s not that, it’s not that, it’s about you answering a question,” Karem said. “Honestly, answer the question, it’s a serious question. These people have nothing they come to the border with nothing, and you throw children in cages. You’re a parent, you’re a parent of young children. Don’t you have any empathy for what they go through?
Sanders responded to Karem by turning to another reporter’s question.
Karem launched a similar tirade against Sanders last year when he said during a press briefing that he was tired of being “bullied” by attacks on the media by the Trump administration.
Sanders, who on Wednesday dealt with a report about her potential departure from the White House in the near future, had stated the Trump administration had not changed immigration policy but was enforcing “the law.”
“It’s not a policy change to enforce the law. That’s been this administration’s policy since the day we got here,” Sanders said prior to the tense exchange with Karem.
Press Sec. Sanders denies separating children from parents at U.S. border represents change in policy.
— ABC News (@ABC) June 14, 2018
However, Sanders did not note the policy change made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in May to charge those who cross the border illegally in a criminal rather than civil court matter. The distinction has resulted in children being taken from parents.
The policy change was reportedly meant to act as a deterrent to immigrants from crossing the border illegally as the Trump administration attempts to keep the president’s campaign promise of tougher immigration policy and border control in the name of national security.