Lewandowski, a former campaign manager for Donald Trump, was on the show to debate with Democratic strategist Zac Petkanas about the Trump administration’s controversial family separation policy. Petkanas mentioned the report of a 10-year-old Mexican girl with Down syndrome who was separated from her mother when Lewandowski interrupted by saying, “Womp, womp.”
“Did you just say ‘womp, womp’ to a 10-year-old with Down syndrome separated from her mother?” Petkanas responded. “How dare you. How dare you.”
Lewandowski attempted to defend his jeering remark but couldn’t get a word in against a livid Petkanas. He further attempted to justify his reaction in a tweet on Wednesday by erroneously blaming former president Barack Obama for the policy.
Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Secretary Luis Videgaray shared the girl’s story at a news conference Tuesday, igniting more concerns over President Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy. Videgaray told reporters that the girl and her brother are among more than 2,300 children separated from their parents in government detention centers.
The girl’s father is a U.S. resident but was detained a week ago and has been in an immigration center in McAllen, Texas, with her brother, Videgaray said Tuesday.
Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration has sparked an emotional debate about the division of families at the border. Previous administrations chose to handle deportation proceedings in civil court to avoid family divisions, but Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a change in policy in May to handle illegal border crossings as criminal prosecutions.
Lewandowski was fired from the Trump campaign in 2016 after he grabbed a Breitbart reporter at a news conference in Florida. The pundit’s insensitive remarks were met with heated backlash on social media, including a rebuke from former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly.
“There is no low to which this coward Corey Lewandowski won’t sink,” Kelly wrote on Twitter. “This man should not be afforded a national platform to spew his hate.”
This article has been updated with information about the child’s father and about Lewandowski’s 2016 dismissal from the Trump campaign, as well as with Lewandowski’s Wednesday tweet.