When ex-Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski heard the story of a 10-year-old migrant girl with Down Syndrome reportedly separated from her parents, he responded during a Fox News appearance with a sarcastic “wah wah,” drawing venom from critics.
He returned to Fox on Wednesday and doubled down, denying that he had mocked the young girl herself and claiming he was only responding to “a liberal Democrat National Committee activist” who was telling the story.
The other panelist during the interview was “doing nothing but politicizing the issue of making an example of one particular child,” Lewandowski said.
Asked if he owed an apology for his remark, Lewandowski said, “An apology? I owe an apology to the children whose parents are putting them in a position that is forcing them to be separated.”
He added: “The law is very clear: When parents commit crimes by coming into this country, regardless of who their children are, they are separated because we are a nation of laws.”
On Tuesday, Lewandowski went on Fox News to discuss the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy implemented by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
That policy, which directs authorities to prosecute all instances of illegal border crossings, has resulted in some 2,000 children being separated from their families at the border.
Earlier Tuesday, a Mexican official had said one of those children was a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome — though the Homeland Security Department later said the separation was “not a result of zero tolerance” because the girl’s mother was being held as a witness in a smuggling incident.
When the Fox panelist, Zac Petkanas, mentioned that story, Lewandowski responded with a much-criticized “Wah wah.”
In the follow-up interview on Wednesday, Lewandowski denied that his remark was directed at the girl referenced by Petkanas. “I don’t know the young girl that Zac referenced. I was mocking Zac,” he said.
He also cited examples of Americans killed by illegal immigrants on U.S. soil and criticized the media for not discussing this “during the Obama administration.”
Despite being fired from the Trump campaign in 2016, Lewandowski appears to have regained the president’s approval. During an April rally in Michigan, President Donald Trump called Lewandowski on stage and praised him for not being a “pushover” or a “patsy.”
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.