In an appearance Tuesday on Fox News, the former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski mocked a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome who was reportedly separated from her mother at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The comment came after the former senior Democratic National Committee adviser Zac Petkanas began telling the little girl’s story. He began by describing a “10-year-old girl with Down syndrome who was taken from her mother and put in a cage.” In the middle of his sentence, Lewandowski interjected with a dismissive and sarcastic sound effect: “womp womp.”
Petkanas immediately jumped on Lewandowski and spoke over him, saying, “Did you just say ‘womp womp’ to a 10-year-old with Down syndrome? How dare you. How dare you. How dare you. How absolutely dare you, sir.” He went on to say, “There is a reason why faith groups, there is a reason why 12 Republican Senators sent a letter begging this administration to reverse this policy. There is a reason why the governor of New York is suing this administration to stop this policy. This policy is abhorrent; it is offensive to all moral people.”
Lewandowski attempted to defend his statements and shift the blame onto the Democrats in the same way Trump has by saying, “Where were you during the Obama administration when this policy was in place?” Petkanas responded by explaining that the policy was not enacted by the Obama administration.
Lewandowski’s comments faced immediate backlash, including a tweet from reporter Aaron Sankin :
While he was at it, Sankin also decided to bring this back up:
Other notable backlash included responses from NBC news anchor Megyn Kelly and senior Rolling Stone writer Jamil Smith:
According to the New York Times, the Mexican foreign minister said the 10-year-old girl's story was heartbreaking. Since early May, 2,342 children have been separated from their families at the border. This number only adds to the already 10,000 children in detention centers, tent cities and “tender age” facilities.
Lewandowski has refused to apologize for his comment, both via Twitter and in a Fox News interview Wednesday morning.
“An apology? I owe an apology to the children whose parents are putting them in a position that is forcing them to be separated. We owe an apology to Jamiel Shaw and Brian Terry and Kate Steinle’s family who have allowed those individuals to be killed by illegal aliens,” Lewandowski said on Fox. “The American people owe an apology to those people. When you cross the border illegally, you have committed a crime and there is accountability for committing crimes and there should be.”