WATCH: Mike Pence Snickers As Jake Tapper Repeatedly Asks Why They Won’t Give Kids Soap and Toothpaste
Vice President Mike Pence let out an awkward laugh as CNN’s Jake Tapper repeatedly pressed him on the Trump administration’s failure to provide migrant children with basic necessities like soap and toothpaste.
On Sunday morning’s edition of CNN’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper, the anchor said that “the Trump administration was actually arguing in court this week that the Trump administration should not be obligated to give soap or toothbrushes or showers to children detained at the border”.
Tapper then played video of a Trump official telling a judge that things like soap and blankets “may be part of safe and sanitary” conditions.
“Aren’t toothbrushes and blanket and medicine, basic conditions for kids, aren’t they a part of how the United States of America, the Trump administration treats children?” Tapper asked.
“Well, of course they are, Jake,” Pence said, and when Tapper pointed out that the administration’s attorney “was arguing the opposite,” Pence stammered. “Well, I — I can’t — I can’t speak to what that lawyer was saying.”
Pence then went to blaming Democrats for the failure of negotiations that led to the government shutdown, but Tapper interrupted.
” But this is going on right now,” Tapper said, adding, “This is the wealthiest nation in the world. We have money to give toothpaste and soap and blankets to these kids in this facility in El Paso County. Right now, we do.”
“Well, of course — of course we do,” Pence said.
“So why aren’t we?” Tapper asked.
Pence again dodged the question with a snicker, replying, “My point is — my point is, it’s all a part of the appropriations process.”
Tapper then had to cut Pence off from the lengthy digression that followed in order to force the question again.
“But I’m talking about the kids — I’m talking about the kids our custody right now,” Taper said. “Just listen to this. This is ‘The New Yorker’ citing a team of lawyers who visited a border facility.”
Pence tried to interrupt him again, but Tapper insisted, “I just want to this quote.”
“The conditions the lawyers were found were shocking,” Tapper read. “Flu and lice outbreaks were going untreated. Children were filthy, sleeping on cold floors, taking care of each other because of the lack of attention from guards.”
“I know you. You’re a father. You’re a man of faith. You can’t approve of that,” Tapper said.
“Well, I — I — no — no American — no American should approve of this mass influx of people coming across our border,” Pence stammered. It is overwhelming our system at the southern border.
“But how about how we’re treating these children?” Tapper asked, again, and Pence deflected, again.
“I was at the detention center in Nogales just a few short months ago. It is a heartbreaking scene,” Pence said, but then added These are people who are being exploited by human traffickers, who charge them $5,000 a person to entice them to take their vulnerable children…”
“But now these kids are in our custody,” Tapper said.
Pence continued to blame Democrats in Congress, but Tapper again reiterated “But I would say that I’m talking about the kids on our southern border right now.”
He told Pence “you have the power right now to go back to the White House and say, we need to make sure that these kids — first of all, that there are people taking care of them, so it is not 12-year-olds taking care of 3-year-olds, and, second of all, that they have soap, that they have toothbrushes, that they have combs, that we’re taking care so they don’t all get the flu.”
Pence once again tried to blame Democrats, to which Tapper replied: “I think Democrats would argue that they want to do a deal with President Trump, but he hasn’t showed any inclination.”
Watch the clip above, via CNN.
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