The first daughter remained silent for months about her father's policy of separating parents and children at the border. During an interview with Fox Business on Friday, Ivanka Trump commented verbally on the family separation policy. When asked whether she'd approached Trump about it, Ivanka said she had, and added that she has "very strong opinions on that topic."
In April, the Trump administration announced a "zero-tolerance" immigration policy of prosecuting all parents who crossed the border without paperwork, part of which included taking children from their parents and detaining them separately. Ivanka didn't speak out publicly about the policy for months, until the president signed an executive order in June to replace it with one that would allow the government to keep families in detention together indefinitely.
After discussing the first daughter's support for a child tax credit, interviewer Maria Bartiromo brought up family separation. "Our first lady was very moved by it, went to the border twice," she said. "Did you also say something to him [...] before he signed that executive order?"
"Of course," Ivanka said, nodding. "I have very strong opinions on that topic." She did not elaborate on those opinions, and Bartiromo ended the interview there.
Prior to Friday, the first daughter had only commented on the policy via Twitter. After Trump signed the order, she tweeted:
Thank you @POTUS for taking critical action ending family separation at our border. Congress must now act + find a lasting solution that is consistent with our shared values;the same values that so many come here seeking as they endeavor to create a better life for their families."
She also wrote that families should be reunited as "swiftly and safely" as possible. These tweets, and her comment to Fox Business, suggest that she was opposed to the separation policy — and she's received some criticism for not saying so openly while it was still going on.
"Where is Ivanka in all of this?" Meghan McCain, ABC host and daughter of Senator John McCain (R-AZ), said on June 19. "Because she's all for women and mothers, and she has a White House role... and I'm sort of interested that her platform has been women and mothers and she doesn't seem to have anything to say about this."
Even though Ivanka has been reticent to address the crisis in public, Trump told lawmakers on June 19 that she approached him about it privately. "Daddy, what are we doing about this?" he said she asked him.
Representative Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) told The Daily Beast that Ivanka was eager to end family separations. "She has been apparently very affected by this and moved, and asked him to find a way to stop this practice," he said. Axios reported that she also told the president that photographs from the border crisis were a "problem."
Last week, Ivanka donated $50,000 to a megachurch in Plano, Texas that plans to help separated migrant kids. The church says that it will hold an event to raise the children's spirits and give families financial assistance. The donation brought her a new round of condemnation, though, when word spread that the church engages in anti-LGBTQ activism.
The first daughter's comments on Thursday seem destined to bring her yet another surge of criticism. "After weeks of silence on Trump's immoral family separation policy," CNN pundit Keith Boykin tweeted on Friday, "Ivanka Trump now wants to take credit for her father's policy shift."