Mike Pence had one job: go to the least horrid of Donald Trump’s immigrant concentration camps, stand amid the subhuman conditions, declare that the conditions are just fine and that it’s the fault of the Democrats anyway, and convince the media to repeat that lie. Unfortunately for Pence, those lies didn’t stick – at all – and now he’s got a problem.
Pence’s visit to the concentration camps went so poorly from a public relations angle, he ended up having to accuse CNN of being fake news, after CNN aired footage of him turning a blind eye to desperate refugees stuffed in overcrowded cages without basic amenities such as access to showers. That left Trump in the same situation this morning that he’d been in all week: having to try to sell the lie himself.
Trump woke up this morning and posted this rant about Pence’s visit: “Friday’s tour showed vividly, to politicians and the media, how well run and clean the children’s detention centers are. Great reviews! Failing @nytimes story was FAKE! The adult single men areas were clean but crowded – also loaded up with a big percentage of criminals. Sorry, can’t let them into our Country. If too crowded, tell them not to come to USA, and tell the Dems to fix the Loopholes – Problem Solved!”
Donald Trump’s rant very much had the feeling of a criminal boss who sent his top lieutenant to clean up a mess, but the lieutenant only made it worse, so now he’s back to trying to clean it up himself. It’s not that Mike Pence’s visit had any real chance of working. But now Pence is stuck with the reality that the concentration camps are seen partly as his scandal instead of Trump’s scandal, and that Trump is clearly unhappy with him for not having been able to make the whole thing magically go away.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report