Former First Ladies Band Together To Decry Separation Of Migrant Families

U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama (L) poses with former first ladies (2nd L-R) Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, Barbara Bush and Rosalynn Carter as they attend the dedication ceremony for the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas (Photo by Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images)
Brooks Kraft/Corbis Historical

The three most recent former first ladies have banded together to condemn the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant families at the border in a bipartisan call for compassion in the face of the immigrants’ plight.

Laura Bush opened the salvo on Sunday with an editorial in the Washington Post, a rare public position on policy from the usually low-key first lady.

“I live in a border state,” she said. “I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart.”

Michelle Obama reached across the aisle to support her Republican counterpart on Monday with a retweet of Bush’s article. She captioned it: “Sometimes truth transcends party.”

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton had taken to the air Monday, devoting an award acceptance speech to her own disavowal of the cold-hearted practice.

“We are a better country than one that tears families apart, turns a blind eye to women fleeing domestic violence, and treats frightened children as a negotiating tool as a means to a political end,” she said. “These actions are an affront to our values and they undermine America’s reputation as a beacon of hope and freedom in the world.”

The comments of current first lady Melania Trump are more fraught. Her spokeswoman gave a statement to CNN on Sunday. “Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform,” communications director Stephanie Grisham said. “She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart.”

Though notable that the media-averse first lady made a statement at all, many take issue with her “both sides” rhetoric when the practice stems directly from the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy and her husband is fully vested with the power to roll it back.

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