Pence Says “Of Course” Detained Kids Deserve Toothbrushes and Soap

This directly contradicts the argument made by a Trump administration lawyer last week.

State of the Union/CNN

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On Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence admitted to CNN’s Jake Tapper that “of course” immigrant children detained at the border should be given toothbrushes, soap, and medicine. 

The simple statement directly contradicts a Trump administration lawyer who last week suggested before a panel of Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judges that a settlement requiring sanitary conditions for detained kids does not necessarily cover these basics.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported last week that a legal team interviewing children at a detention facility outside El Paso, Texas, found hungry, filthy kids, lice and flu infestations, and lack of supervision, with young children taking care of younger children. 

On Sunday, Tapper played a clip of the Trump administration lawyer’s argument and asked Pence, “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?”

“Well, of course they are,” replied Pence. “I cant speak to what that lawyer was saying.” 

Pence pivoted to blame Democrats for not expanding capacity at border detention centers. “No American should approve of this mass influx of people coming across our border. It is overwhelming our system,” he said. “It is a heartbreaking scene.” 

Tapper then pressed Pence, saying that the US is the “wealthiest nation” and has money to provide “toothpaste, soap, and blankets” to detained children. Pence responded, “of course we do,” before again criticizing Congress and the appropriations process. Congress is considering a measure that would provide more funding for humanitarian aid at the border.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement had prepared for mass deportation raids on Sunday, but President Trump tweeted yesterday that he was delaying the plans in order to allow Congress to “get together and work out a solution to the asylum and loophole problems.” In an extended Meet the Press interview that aired Sunday, he said, “We’re doing a fantastic job under the circumstances.” He added, “The Democrats aren’t even approving giving us money. Where is the money? You know what? The Democrats are holding up the humanitarian aid.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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