MSNBC host Rachel Maddow tried to share a breaking story from The Associated Press during her program on Tuesday evening about so-called tender age shelters, where immigrant babies and young children are being placed after they’re separated from their parents at the U.S. border. But she struggled to share the report, tearing up and turning away from the camera before the program ended.
“This is incredible,” Maddow said while reading the AP alert. Unable to complete her next sentence, she passed the news to the hour’s next host, noting, “I think I’m going to have to hand this off.”
In the midst of her program on Tuesday, the AP reported that Trump administration officials have been sending young children to at least three age-specific shelters as part of the Justice Department’s new “zero tolerance” immigration policy that’s resulted in thousands of kids being separated from their parents. The “tender age” facilities reportedly house children with special needs and those younger than 13.
“They’re not government facilities per se, and they have very well-trained clinicians, and those facilities meet state licensing standards for child welfare agencies, and they’re staffed by people who know how to deal with the needs — particularly of the younger children,” Steven Wagner, an official at the Department of Health and Human Services, told AP.
A fourth shelter is being planned in Houston.
Maddow later shared the script she was trying to read on Twitter and apologized for the display of emotion.
“If nothing else, it is my job to actually be able to speak while I’m on TV,” she wrote. “I apologize for losing it there for a moment. Not the way I intended that to go, not by a mile.”
The Trump administration has faced growing criticism over its new immigration policy after journalists and lawmakers shared images of children being held inside chain-link fences.
A growing chorus of Democrats has called on the White House to abandon the policy and for Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to resign over her agency’s role in the detentions.