Trump confidant accused of mocking story of Down’s syndrome girl taken from mother at border
A former campaign manager for Donald Trump provoked an angry backlash on Tuesday night by apparently dismissing a story about a girl with Down’s syndrome reportedly separated from her mother at the US border with a sarcastic "Womp womp."
Corey Lewandowski was appearing on the Fox News Channel to discuss Mr Trump’s hard-line immigration policy, which has led to the practice of taking migrant children from parents charged with entering the country illegally.
Earlier in the day Luis Videgaray, the Mexican foreign minister, told reporters the story of a 10-year-old girl with Down’s syndrome, which he called "particularly painful".
He said the girl and her brother went to a facility in McAllen, Texas, while her mother was sent to a different centre, an hour away.
The story was repeated by another Fox panellist, Zac Petkanas. "I read today about a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome who was taken from her mother and put in a cage…" he began, before being interrupted by Mr Lewandowski’s remarks.
On Fox, Corey Lewandowski mocks America separating a 10-year old girl with Down Syndrome from her family: "Womp womp" https://t.co/CVFY5haCGApic.twitter.com/kr2dpHtTnL
— Media Matters (@mmfa) June 20, 2018
Mr Petkanas reacted in fury, saying: "How dare you, how absolutely dare you, sir?"
For his part, Mr Lewandowski insisted he was commenting on selective accounts of what was happening at the border.
"What I said is you can pick anything you want, the bottom line is clear," he said.
The clip was quickly shared across social media and provoked a string of angry rebukes from political commentators and celebrities.
Megyn Kelly, the TV news presenter, wrote on Twitter: "There is no low to which this coward Corey Lewandowski won’t sink.
"This man should not be afforded a national platform to spew his hate."
Womp womp will be the sound Corey Lewandowski's soul makes as it descends to Hell
Click Here: Golf special— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) June 20, 2018
The issue of separating families at the border has angered many Americans, crossing political divides and heaping pressure on Mr Trump.
He was elected on a policy of getting tough on illegal migrants and his administration launched a clampdown in April, promising to prosecute anyone crossing the border illegally, sparking the current crisis.
Behind the Shutter: US-Mexico border
Despite being fired from the Trump campaign in 2016, Mr Lewandowski appears to have regained the president’s approval. During an April rally in Michigan, Mr Trump invited Mr Lewandowski on stage and praised him for not being a "pushover" or a "patsy".