Congresswoman Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) has spent more time and energy this week talking about the unpopular Republican tax bill on social media than speaking out against the unconscionable family separations carried out by the Trump administration.
As news broke of the Trump administration tearing children from the arms of their family and detaining them in cages, Walters remained quiet. More than 2,000 children — including reports of a breastfeeding infant — have been torn away from their families under a new Trump “zero tolerance” policy.
Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, weighed in before Walters could be bothered to comment.
“The thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable,” said Zeid. “I call on the United States to immediately end the practice of forcible separation of these children.”
Nearly two months after the Trump administration began their new policy, Walters finally weighed in to say, “I strongly oppose the separation of children from their parents at the border.” She would not criticize Trump by name, and “she declined to support any specific legislative solution,” reports Yahoo News.
But Walters’ activity on social media is more revealing than her tepid statement. As the nation’s attention was focused on tent cities and detention centers for separated families, Walters kept her focus on damage control around the Republican tax bill on Twitter and Facebook. Even this week she posted more about the tax bill than she did about families being torn apart.
“The reticence among local Republicans is telling; there may be no better place to measure the political ramifications of the forced separation crisis than Orange County,” Yahoo News wrote.
“While moderate overall, the four county districts are also demographically diverse — and the groups that define the area’s diversity are precisely the ones least inclined to look kindly on a party that stood by while Trump broke up immigrant families, particularly Latino ones,” said Yahoo.
Protestors rallied outside the office of Congressman Steve Knight (R-Palmdale), and they plan to visit Walters’ Irvine office as well.
One Democratic strategist working in California criticized the “half-measures” taken by Republicans like Walters. “Why not just get a Democrat in the seat who can actually act as a check on Trump the next time he does something like this?” the strategist asked, according to Yahoo News.
After widespread outrage, Trump recently signed an executive order he claimed would stop the family separation policy his own administration put into place. But it was really just a photo op. Thus far, there is no solid plan to reunite the thousands of children already separated from their families. And recent reports indicate the Trump administration doesn’t really plan to stop theit practice of tearing families apart.
After the headlines on this issue fade, “Orange County’s evolving electorate will not forget that most of their GOP congressional candidates refused to speak out when it mattered most,” says Yahoo News.