- - Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The mamas are happy. The papas are happy. Best of all, the little children (and some big ones) are happy. Most of the rest of us are happy. Only Sen. Chuck Schumer and Democratic congressional candidates have mixed feelings about President Trump’s executive order prohibiting the separation of children from their parents arrested for illegally crossing the border from points south.

Families are together again, or soon will be, as they must be, and Mr. Schumer and the enraged Democrats are deprived of a campaign issue. Keeping the children apart would have given Mr. Schumer an enormous club with which he would have beaten the president over the head with from now until November. Now the issue is graveyard dead, and huffing and puffing, however amplified by allied sob sisters in the media, does not usually resuscitate the dead.

Mr. Schumer made no attempt to disguise his strategy, cold and cruel as it is. When Sen. Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Republican majority in the Senate, said he would reach out to Democrats eager to reunite families, seeking to get Democratic votes necessary to enact legislation granting authority to keep detained families together in custody while expediting deportation proceedings, Mr. Schumer said contemptuously, fat chance.

“There’s no need for legislation,” he said. “There’s no need for anything else. You can do it, Mr. President. You started it. You can stop it.”

Such an attitude reflects Mr. Schumer’s strategy killing a compromise the president offered to resolve the continuing misery of the “Dreamers,” children brought by their parents across the border years ago and now stuck in bureaucratic limbo and facing deportation. The president wanted to compromise, asking in return for the money to complete his wall on the border, a campaign promise repeated a hundred times, and was probably the key to winning election. But Mr. Schumer said no. He is determined to keep the immigration issue alive, and if the price is the misery of children, well, that’s life in Washington. Using the children, crying or not, as campaign chits is such dreadful business that only a desperate politician would do it.

The familiar complaints from the White House that the press has been deliberately distorting what’s happening, with images of wire “cages” and crying children, certainly have merit, but political bias is the fundamental rule of the press game. That, too, is life.

Mr. Trump did the right thing with his executive order, and with a clearer recognition of the political optics he would have done it earlier. He cannot expect anything but contempt from his critics, who will always oppose everything he does, even if they think it is something that ought to be done. It’s good that the cages will soon be gone, though it’s the imagery of wire walls, instead of walls of plaster board, that offends. Something there is, as the poet said, that doesn’t like a wall, and particularly of wire. That President Obama ordered such wire “cages,” too, and wrapped the children in foil for blankets, is true enough, but citing an Obama standard is not much of an argument.

The hatred directed at the president becomes ever more remarkable. Some of his critics, particularly from the fantasy world of Hollywood, are truly unhinged. Peter Fonda, Jane’s little brother (at 76), aroused disbelief, fury and applause Wednesday on social media with his call to “rip Barron Trump from his mother’s arms and put him in a cage with pedophiles and see if [his] mother will stand up against the giant [rectal aperture] she is married to.”

He further called for arresting Secretary of Homeland Security Kristjen Nielsen, using the vilest street vulgarity for women, stripping her naked and inviting the public to rape her. He proposed kidnapping the children of Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the president’s press secretary, locking them in a basement and deporting them to Arkansas, though it’s hard to see how even a mob could do both things at once.

Melania Trump was among the many Republicans who urged her husband to do something to unite the children on the border with their parents, and can look out for children with no guidance from the likes of Peter Fonda. The White House notified the Secret Service and Mr. Fonda can expect a visit soon. Threatening the president and his family, even by a nut case, is serious business. And so, too, is enforcing order on the border, done the right way.

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