The White House is "certainly not" worried about anticipated criticisms from former President Donald Trump at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this weekend, according to press secretary Jen Psaki.
NBC’s Kristen Welker asked what Biden thought about Trump’s forthcoming speech at CPAC, which is expected to touch on Biden’s immigration policy and point to an uptick of migrants at the border.
"We're not looking to former president Trump or any of his advisers for a model on how we approach immigration," Psaki said Thursday. "Our focus is certainly not on what President Trump says at CPAC."
"We’re in the circumstance we're in because not only was their approach inhumane it was ineffective," she added.
Trump, after lying low for over a month, will give his first public address at CPAC this Sunday.
A source familiar with Trump’s speech told Fox News last week that Trump will speak about the future of the Republican Party and the conservative movement as well as Biden’s policies on amnesty and the border.
On Tuesday Psaki described Trump’s forthcoming speech at CPAC as a "performance."
"I wouldn’t say he’s thought a lot about the former president’s visit to -- I was going to say ‘performance,’ maybe that’s appropriate -- CPAC," Psaki said.
Biden has perhaps moved fastest on immigration, where he has already taken a slew of measures to stamp out Trump-era policies. He has stopped the construction of the wall at the southern border, ended the travel bans and taken steps to loosen asylum policies such as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP.) He’s also formed a task force to reunite families separated under Trump’s "zero tolerance" policy, meaning that every adult who crosses the border illegally would be prosecuted. Because children cannot be jailed with their family members, families were separated and children were taken into custody by Health and Human Services, which manages unaccompanied children at the border.
Family separations were halted under Trump in 2018.
On Wednesday, Psaki was pressed to explain the difference between child migrant detention facilities newly reopened under Biden and those used under Trump.
"Is it kids in containers instead of kids in cages?" Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked Psaki.
"We have a number of unaccompanied minors coming into the country without their families," Psaki responded. "What we are not doing is what the last administration did, which was separate those kids, rip them from the arms of their parents at the border."
Psaki said there were limited options of how to handle children that arrived at the border alone: to send them back home on a "dangerous journey," to quickly place them with families and sponsors who haven’t been vetted or to reopen the detainment facilities.
A growing number of children have been taken into migrant custody along the southern border in recent days, straining the government’s ability to house them.