Who Threw Martin O'Malley Under the Bus for Defending Immigrant Kids?

Flickr user mdgovpics

Maryland governor and 2016 contender Martin O'Malley is being labelled a hypocrite after saying undocumented children should be allowed to stay in the United States, just not in his state. Or, put another way, after O'Malley criticized the White House's expedited deportation policy, a "Democratic source" leaked a damning quote. 

Last week O'Malley, who is on the long list of possible 2016 contenders, made headlines and upset the White House when he came out against the administration's efforts to expedite deportations. During a Friday press conference with the National Governor's Association, O'Malley said, "We are not a country that should send children away and send them back to certain death,” according to Politico. The White House didn't like that, and domestic policy adviser Cecilia Munoz had a tense discussion with him late Friday. Then "Democratic sources" threw him under the bus.

As CNN reported Tuesday, a Democratic source said O'Malley "privately said 'please don't send these kids to Western Maryland.'" There's a slight nuance that's lost: specifically, he said he doesn't want buses of migrant children sent to a former army base tagged up with "No Illeagles (sic) Here No Undocumented Democrats" graffiti by (illiterate) vandals. The empty Army Reserve building the administration is located in the conservative town of Westminster, and the children might be "harassed or worse," he said, according to Politico

O'Malley was swiftly labelled a hypocrite, but he has a point: Westminster didn't want the kids. As The Washington Post reported, "county leaders learned of the possibility on Thursday evening, and the reaction in this heavily Republican town northwest of Baltimore was swift and negative." Over the weekend the "No Illeagles" graffiti appeared, and Republican Rep. Andy Harris threatened to attempt to block funding for the Department of Health and Human Services if the building became a site. On Monday the Department of Health said it wasn't a viable option. O'Malley's press secretary also heavily emphasized that the governor is open to kids being house in other parts of the state, according to CNN.

The sense is that the White House knifed him. "White House appears to have leaked an O'Malley phone call as retribution for him speaking on on the border kids," The Huffington Post's Sam Stein wrote. Zack Wolf from CNN's Inside Politics tweeted, "We're #insidepolitics wondering who's the 'Democratic source' who politically knifed Martin O'Malley on border kids... alleging hypocrisy..."

But even if you believe that the White House leaked a quote out of context to punish and discredit O'Malley's immigration argument, the fact remains that he thinks part of his state is too unwelcoming to shelter undocumented children. As Zeke Miller atTime put it, "What does it say about a governor who says some of the people in his state are too intolerant to house a detention facility for kids?" If you're an even remotely ambitious politician, you probably don't want your constituents to feel like you think they're prejudiced ... even if it's the truth. 

(Image via Flickr user mdgovpics)


Get daily news from Route Fifty

Top stories on how innovation is driving smarter government across the country.

Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.