The White House on Friday condemned MSNBC host Joe Scarborough's comments seemingly comparing federal immigration officials to Nazis, calling his remarks "appalling" and "categorically false."
"It is appalling that Joe Scarborough would compare sworn federal law enforcement officers — who put their lives on the line every day to keep American people safe — to Nazis," White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said in a statement. "This is the type of inflammatory and unacceptable rhetoric that puts a target on the backs of our great law enforcement."
"It is also horribly insulting to the memory of the 6 million Jews who perished in the Nazi Holocaust," Gidley continued. "Not only is Scarborough’s rhetoric shameful, but his facts are categorically false."
The statement came hours after Scarborough ranted on his show, "Morning Joe," against the practice of immigration officials separating children from their parents at the U.S.–Mexico border.
Scarborough referenced reports that several migrant families were told by Border Patrol agents that they were taking their children to give them a bath, but did not then return the child.
"I know children are being marched away to showers, marched away to showers. Being told they are — just like the Nazis said that they were taking people to the showers and then they never came back," Scarborough said.
"You think they would use another trick like, 'hey, got a Slurpee room over there; we’re going to take them to get a Slurpee,'" he continued. "That would be better than 'we’re marching them to the showers and we’ll be right back' and they never come back."
A spokesperson for NBC Universal did not immediately respond to The Hill's request for comment.
The Trump administration's so-called zero tolerance approach to illegal immigration has led to hundreds of cases of children being separated from their parents at the border — a practice that has drawn widespread scrutiny in recent weeks.
Trump has sought to blame Democrats for the policy, saying in an interview on "Fox & Friends" Friday that he dislikes the practice of separating children from their parents.
"I hate the children being taken away," he said. "The Democrats have to change their law. That's their law."
But the policy was announced last month by Trump's Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsOvernight Hillicon Valley — Apple issues security update against spyware vulnerability Stanford professors ask DOJ to stop looking for Chinese spies at universities in US Overnight Energy & Environment — Democrats detail clean electricity program MORE, who said the changes would help deter future immigrants from attempting to cross into the United States illegally.
Gidley defended the policy on Friday, saying that anyone who breaks the law — including Americans — should expect to be separated from their families.
"While Scarborough is quick to launch into his straight-to-camera outrage over the temporary separation of illegal alien families, he has never shown similar outrage for the permanent separation of American families forever torn apart from their children, who were killed by criminal aliens as a result of Democrats’ open borders policies," Gidley said.