The Trump administration, as well as his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, have been spreading a dark wave of lies across the country. The man who lies on average 5.5 times a day, Trump made his first trip to California, after over a year, to check out samples of his wall. At the same time, the spokesperson for the San Francisco Division of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) made a startling announcement.
The spokesperson, James Schwab, said that he could not lie for Trump. That was just too much to ask of him, too great of a burden. He told CNN:
‘I just couldn’t bear the burden — continuing on as a representative of the agency and charged with upholding integrity, knowing that information was false.’
Schwab pointed directly at the Acting Director, Tom Homan, and AG Sessions. He said that the two men had been releasing false and intentionally misleading information. They lied about Oakland’s Mayor, Libby Schaaf, after she decided to let her city know about an ICE raid that was about to happen.
In late February, ICE released a press release regarding its activities in the north part of California. Homan’s falsehood read:
‘864 criminal aliens and public safety threats remain at large in the community, and I have to believe that some of them were able to elude us thanks to the mayor’s irresponsible decision.’
Then, Sessions followed the press release up with another layer of lies, when he spoke before California lawmakers in Sacramento:
‘Those are 800 wanted criminals that are now at large in that community — 800 wanted criminals that ICE will now have to pursue with more difficulty in more dangerous situations, all because of one mayor’s irresponsible action.’
Schwab said that those numbers were way off:
‘Director Homan and the Attorney General said there were 800 people at large and free to roam because of the actions of the Oakland Mayor. Personally I think her actions were misguided and not responsible. I think she could have had other options. But to blame her for 800 dangerous people out there is just false.’
The spokesperson continued, noting that depicting the wanted people as “dangerous” was inaccurate:
‘It’s a false statement because we never pick up 100% of our targets. And to say they’re a type of dangerous criminal is also misleading.’
Schwab went through the proper channels about his concerns, but he was told to “deflect:”
‘Deflect to previous statements. Even though those previous statements did not clarify the wrong information.’
The ICE spokesperson had been working in government service for nearly “17 years,” but this was a first:
‘I’ve never been in this situation in 16 almost 17 years in government where someone asked me to deflect when we absolutely knew something was awry — when the data was not correct.’
Oakland Mayor Schaaf responded to the comments of the man who had just resigned, for “speaking the truth:”
‘I commend Mr. Schwab for speaking the truth while under intense pressure to lie. Our democracy depends on public servants who act with integrity and hold transparency in the highest regard.’
Although the spokesperson was registered as a Democrat, he, like so many public servants, had been loyal to the government they served. The party in power made no difference – just the lies.
Featured Image via Getty Images/Joe Raedle.