Democrats on the House Oversight Committee have deleted tweets that promoted an upcoming Wednesday afternoon hearing on “kids in cages” after being called out for using Obama-era images of migrants in detention to highlight current conditions at the border.
“Last week, members of our committee visited a detention center at the southern border and discovered grotesque treatment of children,” the first tweet, posted Tuesday afternoon, said. “This week, we are examining the inhumane treatment of the children in these detention centers.”
But the tweet included a photograph taken by The Associated Press in 2014, during the Obama administration, showing migrants in detention in Arizona. The Trump campaign flagged the soon-deleted tweet and noted the image comes from a time when current Democratic presidential primary front-runner Joe Biden was vice president.
“House Democrats are promoting their 'civil rights' hearing on ‘kids in cages’ and ‘inhumane treatment’ with a photo from 2014, when Joe Biden was Vice President,” the tweet read. “So dishonest!”
According to The Daily Caller, House Democrats then put up a new tweet with a different photograph -- also, it turns out, from the Obama administration years. That tweet was soon deleted as well, after it was noticed by their Republican counterparts on the committee.
“You all know that’s a picture from 2014, right? Remind us who was President then,” the tweet said.
The hearing, still scheduled, will be held Wednesday by the Oversight Committee’s Civil Rights and Civil Liberties subcommittee. Democrats on that panel include Chairman Jamie Raskin, D-Md., Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.
Republicans generally do not dispute that there currently are poor conditions in detention centers at the border, particularly with hundreds of thousands of migrants crossing the border in recent months -- many of them unaccompanied minors or family units. Lawmakers disagree over the root causes of the conditions, however, with many Republicans arguing the facilities are overwhelmed and under-resourced, and Democrats claiming that border officials are mistreating or showing disregard for those in custody.
A report by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General issued last week found that roughly 8,000 immigrants in Texas facilities were subjected to “serious overcrowding” and prolonged detention.
At three facilities, government auditors said they observed children lacking full access to showers and a change of clothes. Some detainees were given wet-wipes in lieu of showers and many adults hadn't showered despite being held for as long as a month.
President Trump signed a bill last month passed by Congress that commits nearly $5 billion to address the crisis.
But Republicans have bristled at the suggestion that these problems are unique to the Trump administration, and have accused Democrats of double standards by highlighting the issue only now and not during the Obama years. They've sharply disputed characterizations by critics including Ocasio-Cortez, who accuses the administration of running "concentration camps."
The pictures used by House Democrats have been mistakenly linked to the Trump administration and shared online before by Democrats and liberal activists. A 2018 Associated Press fact check noted that a number of lawmakers and activists had deleted tweets after the error had been pointed out to them.
"Democrats mistakenly tweet 2014 pictures from Obama’s term showing children from the Border in steel cages," Trump tweeted at the time. "They thought it was recent pictures in order to make us look bad, but backfires."
Fox News' Louis Casiano and The Associated Press contributed to this report.