U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) is heading to Texas Saturday with officials from the Department of Health and Human Services to assess a federal child detention facility and to receive briefings from U.S. border patrol agencies, Coffman’s office announced today in a news release.
“Tearing children away from their parents is not only immoral, it’s unacceptable and should never have occurred,” said Coffman in a statement.
But earlier this week, Coffman thought Trump didn’t have the power to change the child-separation policy, even though he opposed it.
Describing a Tuesday meeting with Trump and congressional Republicans, in which Trump claimed that Congress, not his administration, had to take action to stop the child grabbing, Coffman said he agreed with Trump.
“There was nothing to challenge [Trump] on from my standpoint,” said Coffman Wednesday on KOA radio’s Colorado’s Morning News. “We acknowledged the fact that it’s wrong to separate children from families, and he needs statutory authority. He needs Congress to pass language to allow him to change this process.” (at 2 min 30 seconds below)
“The president stated that he didn’t want the country to have this visual of separating families,” said Coffman on air. “There wasn’t really room to challenge the president on that point, because he acknowledged it.”
Hours after the radio interview, Trump reversed himself on having no power to act unilaterally, and he signed an executive order ending the child-separation policy.
Coffman has not said why he thought Trump did not have the power to do this, and his office didn’t return an email seeking an explanation.
During the KOA interview, Coffman said he thought Trump could stop prosecuting people for crossing the border entirely and instead put them back on the other side of the border, an approach he said he’d favor.
Regardless, Coffman now says he wants to insure the child migrants are being “properly cared for,” and that’s the purpose of his trip to Texas.
Listen to Mike Coffman on KOA radio June 20: