Outrage over the separation of children from their parents has dominated the news in a way not seen since President Donald Trump's travel ban, drawing tears and heated commentary. Meanwhile, a former campaign manager of Trump's, speaking as a contributor on one TV show Tuesday night, sparked furor with a sarcastic comment about a child with a disability.
MSNBC's Rachel Maddow broke down late Tuesday while reading an Associated Press report that the Trump administration has been sending babies and other young children forcibly separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border to at least three "tender age" shelters in South Texas.
Maddow began to read from the new report, which she called "incredible," but paused as she appeared to choke up.
"The Trump administration has been sending babies ... and other young children ... hold on," the host said, bowing her head for a few seconds while she apparently tried to regain her composure.
Maddow made several attempts to continue reading from the report but eventually gave up. "I think I'm going to have to hand this off ... sorry ... that does it for us tonight," she said, tossing to Lawrence O'Donnell who hosted his program "The Last Word" live from Brownsville, Texas.
Later, Maddow tweeted: "Ugh, I'm sorry. If nothing else, it is my job to actually be able to speak while I'm on TV."
The AP reported that lawyers and medical providers who have visited the Rio Grande Valley shelters described play rooms of crying preschool-age children in crisis.
The government also plans to open a fourth shelter to house hundreds of young migrant children in Houston, where city leaders denounced the move.
Outrage was widespread. A heckler inside the Capitol cursed at Trump, who was huddling with members of his party to discuss immigration policy, and protesters in a Washington, D.C., Mexican restaurant repeatedly chanted "shame" and "end family separation" at Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who was having dinner.
After Maddow's show on MSNBC, anchor Stephanie Ruhle appealed to first lady Melania Trump and White House aide and Trump daughter Ivanka Trump to intervene to stop children from being separated from their families.
"Who does it serve to rip these babies from their mothers' arms? I can't imagine as a mother something worse," Ruhle said from McAllen, Texas, where the U.S. Border Patrol has a facility.
Ruhle continued, "When you become a mother, you become a sister to all other mothers. Those children are ours and unless Ivanka Trump is going to stand up and do something, she no longer deserves the right to say that she stands with us."
On CNN, host Wolf Blitzer repeatedly asked Thomas Honan, outgoing acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, whether the policy of splitting families was humane, but Honan wouldn't answer directly.
"I think it's the law and I'm law enforcement. I must follow the law. I think we take care of these children and I think what's inhumane is parents that choose to put their kids in the hands of a smuggling organization," Honan said.
Blitzer told Honan, "It's unfair to the men and women of ICE to make them engage in an inhumane policy."
But some reactions to the news were less sympathetic. Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski dismissed with a sarcastic "wah wah" the story of a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome whom a Mexican official said was taken away from her family.
His comment, made during a discussion on Fox News Channel, prompted cries of "how dare you?" from panelist Zac Petkanas.
Other coverage by Fox News personalities has also drawn attention.
Parkland school shooting survivor David Hogg called on Tuesday for an advertiser boycott of Laura Ingraham's show on Fox after she compared the facilities holding migrant children to "summer camp."
"Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane donated $2.5 million to National Public Radio and its Los Angeles affiliate, KPCC, after he said he was embarrassed to work for Fox News' parent company, 21st Century Fox, over comments Fox News host Tucker Carlson told viewers to discredit anything they hear on rival news networks.