MSNBC host Joe Scarborough urged Vice President Mike Pence to check his Bible to “see what Jesus says about the treatment of little children” after Pence blamed “dangerous” conditions under which migrant children are being held on Democrats in Congress.
Pence responded on Sunday to a recent New Yorker report which described conditions under which migrant children are being detained at Border Patrol facilities in Texas as “dirty, neglectful, and dangerous,” but Scarborough didn’t buy it.
“Mike Pence is lying about children living in torturous positions right there. Mike Pence, who claims to be a Christian, a devout Christian — I’m sure he is, I’m not questioning his faith, but he uses it as a political badge of honor. Mike should read the gospels again and see what Jesus says about the treatment of little children. You can start at Luke 17:2. Something about millstones being hung around people’s neck,” Scarborough said reacting to Pence’s response to widespread outrage over reports of conditions at the detention facilities.
“You have got to explain to us what does the administration think they are gaining by allowing children to walk around with lice and walk around without diapers and 8-year-olds having to take care of 2 or 3-year-olds? What does the administration think they gain from that?”
That bad publicity from the New Yorker report has also been compounded by footage of a Department of Justice attorney making a legal argument that toothbrushes, blankets and medicine aren’t necessary basics for detained children. In the footage the attorney argues that "there's fair reason to find that those things may be part of safe and sanitary," before a judge pushes back with, "Not may be, are a part."
CNN's Jake Tapper asked Pence during "State of the Union" on Sunday: "Aren't toothbrushes and blankets and medicine, basic conditions for kids, aren't they a part of how the United States of America, the Trump administration treats children?"
Pence replied, "Well, of course they are," before adding, "I can't speak to what that lawyer was saying."
He further argued that the conditions at detention facilities were "one of the reasons we asked for more bed space" when negotiating during the federal shutdown, but Democrats refused to expand those resources.
"Democrats in Congress refused to expand the bed space and the capacity for us to detain people at our borders," he said. "It is one of the reasons why we continue to call on Congress to give (the Department of Homeland Security), Customs and Border Protection additional resources at the border."
Tapper noted however that money already existed in DHS’ budget to provide basic necessities for detained children and pointed to Pence faith.
"You're a father, you're a man of faith — you can't approve of that,” he said.
"No American should approve of this mass influx of people coming across our border. It is overwhelming our system at the southern border,” Pence replied.
Scarborough further argued that the detained migrant children are “living like dogs” and called out Christian Republican senators as well for allowing children to be treated in that way.
“Do Republican senators, I’m dead serious, I know a lot of them. A lot of them [are] also men and women of faith, do they think that this is permissible with the Christian faith they claim? And also being members of the United States Senate? Do they think this is permissible?” he asked.
Currently, there are bills in the Republican-controlled Senate and Democrat-controlled House to provide emergency funding for the detention centers. President Trump has issued a veto threat for the House version due to the restrictions it would place on how his administration could spend the money.