White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was prepared when asked about a sharply critical Washington Post op-ed penned by former First Lady Laura Bush attacking President Donald Trump’s enforcement of border laws.
When asked about the president’s reaction to the Bush op-ed, Sanders said that the president shared her concerns and urged Congress to change the laws that were driving the child crisis at the border.
“Frankly, this law was actually signed into effect in 2008 under her husband’s leadership, not under this administration,” Sanders said at the White House press briefing on Monday.
The law she was referring to was the Trafficking Victims Prevention Reauthorization Act signed by Bush in 2008, which Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said was in need of reform.
“This law encourages families to put children in the hands of smugglers to bring them alone on this dangerous trek northward,” Nielsen said during the White House press briefing. “And make no mistake, we’ve talked about this before — this trek is dangerous and deadly.”
In 2014, President Barack Obama’s administration also blamed the Bush-era law for the sudden influx of unaccompanied minors at the border.
But former First Lady Michelle Obama sided with Laura Bush in a statement on Monday.
“Sometimes truth transcends party,” she wrote on Twitter.
Sanders pointed to previous administrations for either creating the problem or failing to fix it.
“We’re not the ones responsible for creating this problem. We’ve inherited it,” she said. “But we’re actually the first administration stepping up and trying to fix it.”