"Fox & Friends" co-host Brian Kilmeade on Friday defended President TrumpDonald TrumpCheney says a lot of GOP lawmakers have privately encouraged her fight against Trump Republicans criticizing Afghan refugees face risks DeVos says 'principles have been overtaken by personalities' in GOP MORE's "zero tolerance" approach to migrants who illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border, saying "these aren't our kids" being detained separately while their parents face prosecution.
"Like it or not, these are not our kids," he said. "Show them compassion, but it's not like he's doing this to the people of Idaho or Texas. These are people from another country."
Kilmeade argued that people are treating migrant children as if they are more important than "people in our country who pay taxes and have needs as well."
Co-host Ainsley Earhardt responded by saying that Trump “just wants to make sure we vet who’s coming across the border, in case it’s MS-13 or drugs.”
"It wasn’t President Trump’s idea to have everyone leave from Central and South America in June," Kilmeade said. "Somebody has to deal with this issue. It doesn’t matter who the president is. If you don’t like his policy, he’s also open to your policy, rather than just criticizing his. He’s trying to send a message to the other countries this is not the way you do it, because this is a country that has rules and laws. We just can’t let everybody in that wants to be here."
Kilmeade later walked back his comments, tweeting that "he didn't mean to make it seem like children coming into the U.S. illegally are less important because they live in another country."
"I have compassion for all children, especially for all the kids separated from their parents right now," he added. "Nobody wants to see children in these circumstances and glad they are on their way to being reunited with their parents."
On FOX & Friends earlier, Of course-I didn’t mean to make it seem like children coming into the U.S. illegally are less important because they live in another country. I have compassion for all children, especially for all the kids separated from their parents right now. 1 of 2— Brian Kilmeade (@kilmeade) June 22, 2018
Nobody wants to see children in these circumstances and glad they are on their way to being reunited with their parents.https://t.co/d1mmMlq0j9— Brian Kilmeade (@kilmeade) June 22, 2018
2 of 2
The comments came the same week that Trump signed an executive order to end an immigration policy that resulted in thousands of children being separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border. It remains unclear how or when parents and children who were already separated will be reunited.
Trump initially defended his policy, but faced increasing pressure from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers to change it.
Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffJan. 6 panel subpoenas four ex-Trump aides Bannon, Meadows Schiff: Criminal contempt charges possible for noncooperation in Jan. 6 probe The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Biden jumps into frenzied Dem spending talks MORE (D-Calif.) said on Twitter on Thursday that Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenEx-Trump official: 'No. 1 national security threat I've ever seen' is GOP Left-leaning group to track which companies hire former top Trump aides Rosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' MORE privately told lawmakers that the Trump administration's family separation practice could resume despite the president signing an order to end the practice.
Trump insisted this week that Congress must enact broad immigration reform that includes increased border security. The House intends to vote on a compromise immigration bill next week and has already rejected a hard-line immigration bill.
Updated: 2:20 p.m.