Murkowski had the right stand on kids in cages; Sullivan offered mumbo-jumbo

Alaska's two Republican U.S. senators took much different  positions on how to handle the crisis created by the Trump administration's decision to lock up kids at the Mexican border.

Murkowski called for Trump to end the practice immediately. Sullivan didn't. She signed a letter with 11 other Republicans calling for the administration to stop separating families. Sullivan didn't.

Murkowski reacted like a human being, understanding that this misguided policy had turned into an international disgrace.

"The time is now for the White House to end the cruel, tragic separations of families. They are not consistent with our values. The thousands of children taken from their parents and families must be reunited as quickly as possible and be treated humanely while immigration proceedings are pending," Murkowski said.

Sullivan reacted like a politician who wanted to keep on good terms with Trump. He avoided a direct challenge or any criticism of the president, releasing a statement that could have been crafted by a committee of a dozen lawyers.

While saying that it was heartbreaking to separate children from their parents, he didn't ask Trump to do anything, creating the false impression that Trump was powerless to stop the Trump administration from putting kids in cages.

Sullivan called for a bipartisan solution and complained about "catch and release," a dig aimed at President Obama.

His statement said, "this is a complicated issue that needs a bipartisan approach to keep kids with their parents, while at the same time ending the catch and release policy of the previous administration that encouraged further illegal immigration, and worse, trafficking of children."

I would have liked to see him echo the Catholic bishops of Alaska, who declared that the "inhumane and disgraceful practice of separating children from their parents," some of them as young as 18 months, was unacceptable. "The lack of humanity is overwhelming," they said.

The contrast between the bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo from Sullivan and the heartfelt statement by Murkowski was striking.

As former Anchorage Rep. Andrew Halcro correctly summarized the two approaches on Twitter, "Not so subtle differences between @lisamurkowski and @SenDanSullivan statements on separating children at the border. She's like 'don't blame others, end it now,' and he's like 'it's someone else's rule but we should try and fix it in a bipartisan manner.'"

On Wednesday, Trump reversed his position and called for families to be kept together, contradicting his many earlier statements that he couldn't do anything to change his own policies.

Dermot Cole4 Comments