×
FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
May 22, 2018

Less than three months ago, NRA spokesperson and radio host Dana Loesch was sparring at a CNN townhall with Parkland shooting survivors and a mother who had lost her child. On Tuesday, she was once again on television to respond to the latest school shooting, although this time she had a rather unusual proposal for stemming the epidemic of violence.

Speaking on Fox & Friends, Loesch said "we need to make sure we are funding security measures" in schools, and to do that she suggested, "How about we take the half a billion dollars from Planned Parenthood and redirect that into making sure that our schools are secure, and that we have armed security and metal detectors?"

Many advocates for gun reform have protested against "armed security," arguing that more guns in schools is not the solution. "In the event an armed guard actually did intervene [in an active shooting], more deaths or injuries would likely be the result," writes Slate. "Armed guards exchanging fire with one or more shooters would result in a chaotic scene filled with deadly crossfire, and would complicate any law enforcement response too." Additionally, armed teachers and security guards have been known to leave loaded guns behind in the bathroom.

Watch Loesch's appearance on Fox News below, via ThinkProgress' Aaron Rupar. Jeva Lange

5:13 a.m. ET

The big political story is still President Trump's policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, plus Trump's continued insistence on falsely blaming the Democrats. The Late Show highlighted the absurdity of Trump's talking point with a parody of his Monday morning news conference featuring Friday the 13th's Jason Voorhees, who also blamed the Democrats for his murderous machete rampages of teen campers.

Stephen Colbert read one of Trump's tweet blaming the Democrats and imagined a cheer to go with his "WIN!" coda: "'Two, four, six, eight, who do we incarcerate? Kids! Gooooo into the cages.' Yeah, ended sad, didn't it," he said. "There are two things wrong with this. One, if it was a law, Republicans are in control of everything — they can fix it. Second of all, it's not a law. This is a policy. It's just another scoop from your chum bucket of cruelty." Trump defended his policy at a Space Force announcement Monday, saying the U.S. "will not be a migrant camp" and "will not be a refugee holding facility." "No, it will be the all-baby reboot of The Shawshank Redemption," Colbert said, and he had a movie poster.

"Not everyone in the administration blames this policy on the Democrats; some say the policy doesn't even exist," Colbert said, specifically pointing to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. Others, like Stephen Miller, tout it loud and proud. Fox & Friends is happy to call a "cage" a "security pen," and Border Patrol says the "cage" description is accurate but uncomfortable-making. "Oh, it's accurate — that's what's making them uncomfortable," Colbert said. "Trump's defenders are wrong, and they are bad, but it's important to give the Devil his due — he's a sponsor. So it's time for our new segment, 'The Devil's Advocate.'" Do not watch the last minute or so if you are on hallucinogenic drugs. Otherwise, the video's below. Peter Weber

4:07 a.m. ET

"On Saturday I was in Houston to play Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in what we called the Blobfish Basketball Classic, and just like a blobfish, the game was ugly, sloppy, and within moments, we were gasping for air," Jimmy Kimmel recalled on Monday's Kimmel Live. "We played one-on-one, it took almost an hour to get to 6 points — which would be a lot if this was a World Cup soccer game but it was not. When we agreed to play to 11, I didn't realize that meant 11:00."

"The game was very rough, there were nothing but fouls the whole game long," Kimmel said. "I have bruises all over my body — he kept poking me with his hooves." Six thousand people turned out to watch the game, which Gus Johnson and Isiah Thomas announced, and thankfully, Kimmel Live edited down the contest to a brisk 14 minutes. Kimmel even got in some policy questions among his trash-talking, and they raised $80,000 for charitable causes. You can watch the condensed action — or whatever — below. And don't miss Guillermo's wicked hook shot. Peter Weber

2:53 a.m. ET

The Wall Street Journal's editorial board tends to favor immigration for fiscal and business reasons, but on Monday night, the editorialists for Rupert Murdoch's flagship U.S. newspaper made the ethical and political case for Republicans to end President Trump's "zero tolerance" policy that separates children from parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. "Are Republicans trying to lose their majorities in Congress this November?" the editorial begins. "The party's internal feuding over immigration ... is fast becoming an election-year nightmare over separating immigrant children from their parents." The editorialists elaborate:

Trump officials are defending the policy as a deterrent to illegal entry, but surely they understand that separating parents from children is morally unacceptable and politically unsustainable. The immediate solution should be for the administration to end "zero-tolerance" until it can be implemented without dividing families. Congress can also act to allow migrants to be detained with children in facilities appropriate for families. Until that is possible, better to release those who have no criminal past rather than continue forced separation. [The Wall Street Journal]

Broadly, the editorial accuses GOP "immigration restrictionists" and Stephen Bannon of forcing the Republican Party to commit political seppuku. "The restrictionists don't want anything to pass because they want to use immigration to drive conservative turnout in November," the editorial board writes. "This is self-destructive politics. ... House control will be won or lost in swing districts where legalizing the Dreamers is popular and separating families isn't." The Journal appeals to Trump as well: "If Mr. Trump wants to lose the House and risk impeachment, he'll take Mr. Bannon's bad advice and keep giving Democrats a daily picture of children stripped from their parents."

Trump-agnostic New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd made a similar case by dubbing audio of separated children wailing for their parents over video of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen defending the program. Peter Weber

1:59 a.m. ET
iStock

When Dawn Johnson and her partner, Kurt Casperson, bought a house in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, they did so having no idea that their new neighbor was family.

Johnson, 50, and Casperson moved in last June, and they quickly met their neighbors — Hillary and Lance Harris and their 5-year-old daughter, Stella. They shared a driveway, and Stella instantly felt a bond with Johnson, her mother said. "Stella was just so drawn to her," Hillary Harris told The Associated Press.

Harris, 31, was adopted as an infant, and in 2012 she received information about her birth parents. She found two half-brothers through her mother's side, but struggled to find two half-sisters listed in her father's obituary (he died in 2012). She knew she was searching for a Dawn Johnson, but the obituary had her living in Greenwood. It wasn't until she saw a delivery for her neighbors in their shared driveway that she learned Johnson's last name and realized that Dawn Johnson had been right next door.

Harris told AP she had no idea how to break the news to Johnson, but finally sent a text asking the name of her father. She responded with the name Harris was expecting, and their lives haven't been the same since. The families are now celebrating holidays and birthdays together, and just enjoying getting to know each other. "I can feel the love," Harris said. Johnson, who had no idea her father had another daughter, has shared pictures of him with Harris and introduced her to the other half-sister she was trying to locate. Catherine Garcia

1:48 a.m. ET

The Trump administration has been slowly shutting immigration down since Day One, Trevor Noah said on Monday's Daily Show, "but after enacting their latest policy of taking children away from their parents at the border, they seem to have hit a wall." There is growing bipartisan condemnation of taking kids from their parents and holding them in cages, he noted. "There's no way that you can defend this, unless you work at Fox & Friends."

President Trump's defenders point to the amenities at the detention centers, "but that's not really the point," Noah said. "The point is, the federal government is effectively stealing kids away from their parents. Like, if some guy in an unmarked van took your kids from the park, the last thing you'd be worried about as a parent is how nice the van was or whether they had the good candy." And Noah called BS on Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Trump blaming everyone but themselves for their own policy.

The policy of snatching children from parents "sounds harsh, but that's also the policy of witches in candy houses," Jordan Klepper responded at The Opposition. And sure, "if you think about it for a second — literally only a second — it sounds really, really bad — movie villain bad. We're the guys who phone up and say 'We have your daughter. I hope you don't have a special set of skills, or else you'll find us.' But guys, don't let them shame you. ... This is who we are. We're the side that supports separating kids from their parents. We're the deplorables." And if Trump officials feel a little twitch in that "fist-sized spot between your lungs," he said, that's just "growing pains — sorry, shrinking pains" — as they work though the "stages of self-acceptance." Watch below as Klepper walks through the Trump team's denial, blame, appealing to a higher power, and for one man, acceptance. Peter Weber

1:19 a.m. ET

Attorney General Jeff Sessions appeared on Fox News Monday night to defend the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" for people crossing the border illegally, and he made an odd claim about one of history's darkest times.

Host Laura Ingraham scoffed at critics who compare placing children in detention centers to Nazi concentration camps, and she asked Sessions to respond to the charge. "Well, it's a real exaggeration, of course," he said. "In Nazi Germany, they were keeping the Jews from leaving the country." Sessions went on to argue that the government is "doing the right thing, we're taking care of these children, they are not being abused," and admitted that separating children from their parents is meant as a deterrent for others who might try to come to the U.S. "Hopefully people will get the message and come through the border at the port of entry, and not break across the border unlawfully," he said.

As for Ingraham, she said it's a "rare" occurrence for families to be broken up at the border (the Department of Homeland Security has reported that from April 19 to May 31, 1,995 minors were separated from adults who said they were their guardians), and referred to the detention centers where children are living as "essentially summer camps." Catherine Garcia

12:05 a.m. ET
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen faced the White House press corps for 20 minutes Monday afternoon to defend the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" border policy and the resulting separation of at least 2,000 children from their parents. Her at times contradictory responses, The Washington Post says, "offered evidence that the administration — and perhaps Nielsen herself — was still struggling to formulate a message to counter critics who have accused the Trump White House of creating a humanitarian disaster."

In fact, inside the administration, Nielsen "is not seen as a supporter" of the policy, Eliana Johnson and Annie Karni report at Politico. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, a mentor to Nielsen, urged her not to do Monday's press conference, but Nielsen is under tremendous pressure from President Trump, who blames her for the rise in illegal immigration and drove her to the brink or quitting in a Cabinet-meeting berating that "several of those present at the meeting" tell Politico was "the most uncomfortable scene they have witnessed in their professional lives."

At the same time, Kelly "and the president are now seen as barely tolerating one another," Politico reports, throwing in this anecdote:

According to four people close to Kelly, the former Marine general has largely yielded his role as the enforcer in the West Wing as his relationship with Trump has soured. While Kelly himself once believed he stood between Trump and chaos, he has told at least one person close to him that he may as well let the president do what he wants, even if it leads to impeachment — at least this chapter of American history would come to a close. [Politico]

"It wasn't a joke, according to my source," Johnson tweeted, "who said his attitude is let the sh-t hit the fan, make Corey [Lewandowski] chief of staff, instruct Cabinet secretaries to do things that are illegal — so be it." Read the entire article at Politico. Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads