U.S. President Donald Trump‘s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is under fire after a tense appearance on Fox News on Tuesday evening.
During the segment, Lewandowski dismissed a story of a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome who had been taken from her mother at the U.S. border.
The story was one Zac Petkanas, a former Democratic National Committee adviser, had read online earlier and recounted on air.
“I read today about a girl with Down syndrome who was taken from her mother and put in a cage,” Petkanas said.
“Womp, womp,” Lewandowski interjected.
WATCH: Former U.S. Immigration official says there could be ‘hundreds’ of children permanently separated from parents
Petkanas reacted in shock, asking: “Did you say ‘womp, womp’ to a 10-year-old with Down syndrome who was taken from her mother? How dare you?”
“How dare you?” he repeated.
The two then began speaking over each other. Petkanas spoke about infants being taken from their mothers.
“When you cross the border illegally, you have given up the rights of this country,” the former campaign manager said, adding that parents crossing the border should understand that their children will be taken.
WATCH: Controversial Trump policy could keep some migrants in Mexico
Since the White House announced its zero-tolerance policy in early May, more than 2,300 children have been taken from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, resulting in a new influx of young children requiring government care.
The government has faced withering critiques over images of some of the children in cages inside U.S. Border Patrol processing stations.
Lewandowski, who was fired from the Trump campaign in 2016 but has since regained the president’s support, stood firm on his stance Wednesday morning as criticism of his comments grew.
“Lots of Fake News today,” he tweeted. “I mocked a liberal who attempted to politicize children as opposed to discussing the real issue which is fixing a broken immigration system.”
Lewandowski appeared on Fox News again on Wednesday morning and was asked whether he would apologize.
“An apology? I owe an apology to the children whose parents are putting them in a position that is forcing them to be separated. We owe an apology to Jamiel Shaw and Brian Terry and Kate Steinle’s family who have allowed those individuals to be killed by illegal aliens,” Lewandowski said.
— With files from The Associated Press