Dem governor slams Trump family separations as 'diabolical scheme' to look tough

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) on Monday slammed President TrumpDonald TrumpMark Walker to stay in North Carolina Senate race Judge lays out schedule for Eastman to speed up records processing for Jan. 6 panel Michael Avenatti cross-examines Stormy Daniels in his own fraud trial MORE's “zero tolerance” immigration policy that separated families at the southern border, calling it a “diabolical scheme” that was put in place in an effort to look tough.

“This has been a barbarous process from the beginning,” Inslee said in an appearance on CNN.

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“It has been a diabolical scheme and the president playing chess — you know, he’s sort of been willing to sacrifice a few pawns, which are these children — in his effort to, I guess, look as tough as he wants to be.”

Inslee made the comments just days after he and five other Democratic governors sent a letter to Trump officials, saying they were “deeply concerned that wholly inadequate resources and procedures are in place to ensure children and parents are reunified safely and securely.”

Democratic Govs. Andrew Cuomo (N.Y.), Dannel Malloy (Conn.), Tom Wolf (Pa.), Phil Murphy (N.J.) and Kate Brown (Ore.) also signed on to that letter. 

Inslee added that he has yet to receive a response to the letter from the Department of Homeland Security or Department of Health and Human Services.

He also said that his staff has been told by government officials on several occasions that the Trump administration does not plan on reuniting all of the children who were separated from their parents. 

“We are grossly dissatisfied with the government’s response,” he said. “They have given us nothing but inaccurate information. They’ve gone so far last week to suggest that they would consider just placing these children with foster parents as a reunification plan.”

Inslee's interview comes as Trump continues to face scrutiny from Republican and Democratic lawmakers over his administration's practice of separating families at the southern border — a practice that resulted in thousands of children being separated from their families. 

Last month a federal judge ordered the administration to reunite separated immigrant children under the age of 5 by Tuesday. The judge gave the administration until July 26 to complete reunifications for children ages 5 to 17.

But on Friday, the Department of Justice asked for the deadlines to be extended, arguing that they do not take into account the time needed to verify and vet each parent.