GOP blasts Democrats for using 2014 'kids in cages' photo to promote migrant hearing

GOP blasts Democrats for using 2014 'kids in cages' photo to promote migrant hearing
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The Democratic-led House Oversight Committee on Tuesday promoted a hearing on migrant detention facilities by tweeting a photo taken during the Obama administration, prompting Republicans to accuse Democrats of "playing politics" with their criticism of conditions at the southern border.

Republicans and the Trump campaign seized on the since-deleted tweet ahead of Wednesday's hearing.

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"Continuing to prove that Dems are only playing politics with the border crisis, House Democrats promoted a hearing on 'kids in cages' with a photo taken in 2014," Tim Murtaugh, director of communications for Trump's reelection campaign, tweeted. "As in, during the Obama Administration. Don’t bother looking for their tweet - it’s been deleted."

Rep. Chuck FleischmannCharles (Chuck) Joseph FleischmannTrump roasts Republicans at private fundraising event Trump faces new hit on deficit Lawmakers concede they might have to pass a dreaded 'CR' MORE (R-Tenn.) accused the committee of misleading Americans, adding that people would not "forget this deceitful action."

"You all know that’s a picture from 2014, right? Remind us who was President then," the House Oversight Committee Republicans tweeted from their official account.

The criticism came after the Oversight Committee's official Twitter account promoted a Civil Rights and Civil Liberties subcommittee hearing for Wednesday that was said to focus on "kids in cages" and the "inhumane treatment at the border."

The image accompanying the post featured migrants lying on the floor in cages. But as lawmakers and the Trump campaign pointed out, the photo was taken in 2014, during the Obama administration.

The Associated Press reported in 2018 that the news service took the photo in 2014, adding that liberal activists had shared Obama-era images that year to showcase the Trump administration's immigration policy.

The House Oversight Committee deleted the tweet shortly after it was promoted.

A Democratic aide to the committee said in a statement to The Hill that “the photo was an error, and it has been removed,” but defended the Obama Administration’s treatment of migrant families at the border.

“But there is simply no comparison between the actions of the Obama Administration and the Trump Administration,” the aide continued. “The Obama Administration did not separate children from their families and create dehumanizing conditions as a way to deter immigration and asylum, which is the stated policy of the Trump Administration.” 

“The Obama Administration separated children only in an extremely small number of cases when there was a true danger to the child’s safety.” 

The Trump administration has come under increasing scrutiny in recent weeks over the treatment of migrants at detention facilities near the U.S.-Mexico border.

report released from the Department of Homeland Security's internal watchdog found "dangerous overcrowding" and "prolonged detention of children and adults" at facilities in the Rio Grande Valley.

The House Oversight Committee on Wednesday announced that it would hold additional hearings on the separation of immigrant children on the southern border.

--Updated 5:58 p.m.