The former Republican Party chairman said the Trump administration’s policy separating immigrant families was a cynical ploy to rally their base ahead of the midterm elections — and he’s worried it will work.
White House adviser Stephen Miller has admitted the policy was intended to turn voters against Democrats, and former GOP chairman Michael Steele told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that the strategy would likely solidify President Donald Trump’s base.
“I think it’s more the red meat that they want,” Steele said.
Some administration officials have admitted the controversial policy was intended as a deterrent to would-be immigrants, and Steele said the GOP base wanted them to fear coming to the U.S.
“I was struck by the … interview with the mother who, when asked would you do this if you knew your child would be separated, in that clip was, ‘I wouldn’t have come,'” Steele said. “That’s the whole point. They want that clip. That’s the soundbite that defines this.”
Steele said so far the policy seems to be working as Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions intended.
“That defines who we are, so as far as the administration is concerned, this is working,” Steele said. “This is exactly right and so for the base, there’s no need to move off of this. But here’s the rub, there’s the rest of the country, and what I’m curious about is how the rest of the country outside of that 35 percent, 42 percent, whatever that number is.”
The Republican Party not that long ago defined itself as the party of family values, and Steele wondered how GOP voters would feel about this abrupt shift.
“Remember how we used to beat people up all the time on this issue about being pro-family and the fact that other policies of other administrations did not respect the family and the rights of the family to keep the family together?” he said. “Now we here in the business of tearing that piece of paper up and writing a new contract that says something very different about the kind of America we are.”
ABC News had the goods on Jeffrey Epstein years ago — and killed the story
Multimillionaire predator Jeffrey Epstein died in suspicious circumstances at a Manhattan correctional facility on Aug. 10. The wealthy and powerful New York financier, a convicted sex offender, stands accused by dozens of women and girls of trafficking, rape and sexual abuse. He was an enormously influential and well-connected man who counted as friends billionaire business owners, Hollywood stars, British royals, and even top media figures like Katie Couric and Charlie Rose — with some of his associates falling under suspicion of condoning or even participating in a pedophile ring.
Child killed as quake strikes southern Philippines
A powerful earthquake hit the southern Philippine island of Mindanao on Sunday, killing a child, injuring dozens and damaging buildings in an area still recovering from a string of deadly quakes in October.
Police said a rescue operation had been launched at a heavily damaged market building in Padada near the 6.8 magnitude quake's epicentre, which is about 90 kilometres (55 miles) south of the major city of Davao.
Patients were evacuated from hospitals as a precaution and nervous crowds massed outside shopping malls after the jolt and dozens of smaller, but strong aftershocks.
50 bodies unearthed from Mexican mass grave
The bodies of at least 50 people have been unearthed from a mass grave at a farm outside Mexico's western city of Guadalajara, local authorities said.
The grim site was discovered just over three weeks ago in Jalisco -- a state hard-hit by violence linked to organized crime.
The local prosecutor's office said Saturday 13 of the dead -- 12 men and a woman -- have been identified and the remains given to their families.
The process of identifying more of the victims and how they died will continue, it added.
A mass grave with 34 bodies was discovered in a suburb of Guadalajara on September 3, while another was found nearby in May with the remains of 30 people.