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All four living former first ladies condemn Trump border policy

Hillary Clinton denounced the administration for citing the Bible in its defense, saying, "Jesus Christ said, 'Suffer the little children unto me' not 'let the little children suffer.'"
by Jane C. Timm and Alex Seitz-Wald /  / Updated 
President Trump Departs The White House En Route To Dallas To Address NRA Conference
U.S. President Donald Trump walks on the South Lawn prior to his departure from the White House May 4, 2018 in Washington, DC.Alex Wong / Getty Images

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All four living former first ladies — Rosalynn Carter, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush and Michelle Obama — have stepped out of political retirement to condemn the Trump administration's practice of separating parents and children at the border.

Speaking at a women's group in New York City on Monday, Clinton called family separation "an affront to our values" and said she had warned Trump's immigration policy would lead to this during her 2016 presidential campaign against him.

And she said journalists should call out the White House for perpetuating "an outright lie" by blaming Democrats for the law.

Clinton, a practicing Methodist since her childhood, also slammed the administration's religious justifications for the practice."

"Those who selectively use the Bible to justify this cruelty are ignoring a central tenet of Christianity," the former first lady said. "These policies are not rooted in religion. What is being done using the name of religion is contrary to everything I was ever taught."

She added, "Jesus Christ said, 'Suffer the children unto me,' not 'let the children suffer.'"

Meanwhile, Bush, who almost never speaks out on political issues, broke partisan ranks in a Washington Post op-ed.

“I live in a border state. I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart,” she wrote.

While the president has falsely claimed that he has no choice on breaking up families because of a law passed by Democrats, Bush laid the blame squarely on the president's policies — namely, the Department of Justice’s "zero tolerance" policy with which it began.

On Friday, Department of Homeland Security officials told reporters that 1,995 children had been separated from their parents over a six-week period, from April 19 to May 31.

In her op-ed article, Bush appealed to Americans’ sense of morality and painted the policy as a dark stain on the nation’s history that she compared to the HIV/AIDS crisis and Japanese internment.

"These images are eerily reminiscent of the Japanese-American internment camps of World War II, now considered to have been one of the most shameful episodes in U.S. history. We also know that this treatment inflicts trauma; interned Japanese have been two times as likely to suffer cardiovascular disease or die prematurely than those who were not interned," she wrote.

Rosalynn Carter called the policy of separating families "disgraceful and a shame to our country."

Michelle Obama also weighed in to support Bush.

The current first lady, Melania Trump, commented over the weekend on what's happening at the border, pushing for bipartisan cooperation to end the separation of migrant children from their parents at the border.

"Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform," according to a statement from her spokeswoman. "She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart."

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