DONALD TRUMP capped a speech on Tuesday in which he repeatedly railed against illegal immigration by embracing the American flag.
Trump gave a speech before the National Federation of Independent Business, during which he discussed immigration at length, including his “zero tolerance” policy that separates families at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Trump concluded his speech by praising small business owners, saying, “We’re doing well as a country, and you are the ones truly who are making America great again.” He then hugged the flag as he walked off stage.
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) June 19, 2018
The move harkens back to Trump’s presidential campaign, during which he hugged U.S. flags at a town hall in New Hampshire and at a rally in Florida.
The U.S. military, which lists do’s and don’t’s for etiquette with the American flag, is mum on hugs.
In the Tuesday speech, Trump pushed back against the effort to hire more immigration judges to address the influx of migrants arriving at the Mexico-U.S. border. He also said that separating families is necessary if the U.S. wants to prosecute parents for illegally entering the country.
“We want to solve family separation, and I don’t want the children to be taken away from parents, and when you are prosecuting the parents for coming in illegally, which should happen, you have to take the children away,” Trump said.
Trump’s speech came amid increasing outrage from Republican and Democratic lawmakers over his administration’s policy that instructs the Department of Homeland Security to separate families. It resulted in roughly 2,000 children being separated from their parents between mid-April and the end of May.
Many lawmakers have called on Trump to end the policy, but he has dug in against their efforts. He’s also frequently blamed Democrats for the policy, and on Tuesday said the party was the problem when it came to immigration.