Moms Are Not Happy with Trump

The overwhelming majority of mothers with children under 18 disapprove of the Trump administration's family separation practices in higher numbers than they did any other issue in a recent poll.
Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis/David McNew/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump administration has received failing marks on its family separation practices from mothers, who disapprove of the policy more so than they do other issues currently at the nation's forefront.

A new poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal found that 63 percent of mothers with children under 18 disapproved of family separation, while just 28 percent felt favorably toward the practice. Mothers' overwhelming condemnation of family separation is stark when compared to their male counterparts: Fathers with children were more split on the issue, with 44 percent approving of family separation and 43 percent disapproving.


When asked to evaluate President Donald Trump's performance on the economy, North Korea, and trade, mothers didn't disapprove nearly as strongly, with net disapproval ratings of -1 percent, -13 percent and -8 percent respectively, as compared to -35 percent for "families at the border." The only other issue that came close was Russia, which earned a -33 percent disapproval rating from the group.

The findings arrive just as the Trump administration misses its second court-mandated deadline to reunify families. As many as 914 parents remain separated from their children as of Thursday, according to CNN. That number includes about 463 parents who have already been deported back to their home countries without their children, and another 127 parents who have waived their rights to reunification—some of whom were reportedly "totally unaware" that they'd done so.

Immigration attorneys representing parents separated from their children filed court documents on Wednesday, arguing that their clients had been coerced into signing the waivers, or misinformed about the waiver's contents.

"He told me it is not safe for his daughter to return to Guatemala due to extreme and specific threats from a powerful and dangerous man who has demanded to 'buy' her," Sophia Reive wrote in a declaration, describing her client's interaction with immigration officials. "He signed the document because he felt pressured to do so and because he felt like he had no other choice. This entire interaction lasted approximately one minute."


These and other revelations into the administration's family separation practices from the last month have sparked widespread outrage, making it one of the most unpopular moves of Trump's tenure so far. Even so, it's not yet clear that Trump will suffer any political consequences for it.

According to FiveThirtyEight, recent polls show Trump relatively unscathed by the opposition to the administration's family separation practices. Instead, the polling analysis outlet reports, "Republicans have emerged more unified and motivated by immigration than they were before the policy was publicized."

But during a midterm election year defined by the woman-led resistance to Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress, one can't underestimate the capacity for mothers who disapprove of the administration's family separation policy to move the needle at the polls in November. Many of them, after all, are running for office themselves.

Mothers' nearly unified opinion on family separation makes a certain amount of sense, as mothers of children under 18 are more likely to support a Democrat-controlled Congress. Plus, a majority of women as a group disapprove of Trump. Still, it's possible others make up a share of the disaffected white women with college degrees or living in the Rustbelt who have turned on Trump since he took office.

Many of the most affecting stories to come out of family separation crisis involve mothers, be it stories involving small children crying for their mother, or a mother devastated by a child who—when reunified after a separation—didn't seem to know who she was.

"He didn’t recognize me,” Mirce Alba Lopez, the mother of a 3-year-old son, told the New York Times earlier this month. “My joy turned temporarily to sadness.”