The Trump administration knew that separating families would hurt kids — and they did it anyway.
And now we know that the administration was warned about the harm to kids for a year before the family separation policy took effect.
At a Senate hearing Tuesday afternoon, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) asked a panel of Trump administration witnesses if any of them had raised concerns about the "zero tolerance" policy that caused the family separation crisis.
Trump Department of Health and Human Services official Commander Jonathan D. White told Blumenthal that "over the previous year, we raised a number of concerns ... about any policy which would result in family separation due to concerns we had about the best interest of the child."
"You told the administration that kids would suffer as a result, that pain would be inflicted, correct?" Blumenthal asked.
"Separation of children from their parents entails significant risk of harm to children," White replied.
Later, White added that there is "no question" that these risks include "traumatic psychological injury to the child."
Blumenthal asked White, several times, how other administration officials responded to those concerns.
"The answer I received is that family separation was not a policy, that there was no policy that was going to result in family separation," White responded.
White acknowledged in his very first answer that Trump's "zero tolerance" policy resulted in family separation.
White's concerns about child welfare were answered with a lie — the same lie that Kirstjen Nielsen tried to push when this crisis first erupted.
White's admissions during the hearing were striking.
He said explicitly that the Trump administration was warned, for a year in advance, that separating families would cause "significant" and "traumatic" harm to children.
But Trump officials actually praised the deterrent value of the policy before it blew up in their faces — which seems all the more disgusting now that these advance warnings have come to light.
Cruelty to children seems to have been the entire point of the policy, not an unintended consequence of it.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.