Ivanka Trump has described her father President Donald Trump’s immigration policy of separating families at the US-Mexico border as the “low point” in her time at the White House.
Ms Trump, who serves as a senior adviser to the President, also emphatically contradicted her father’s repeated assertions that the US media is“the enemy of the people”.
Speaking at an Axios News Shapers event in Washington on Friday morning (AEST), Mr Trump’s eldest daughter revealed that some White House officials saw the zero tolerance decision to separate migrant children from their parents as a “low point” in the Trump administration.
“That was a low point for me as well,” she said.
“I feel very strongly about that. And I am very vehemently against family separation and the separation of parents and children.”
But Ms Trump, who pointed out that her mother Ivana Trump migrated legally to the US from a communist country, supported her father’s tough stance on illegal immigration.
“We have to be careful about incentivising behaviour that puts children at risk,” by encouraging dangerous journeys across the border, she said.
“These are not easy issues; these are incredibly difficult issues,” Ms Trump added.
“And like the rest of the country, I experience them in a very emotional way.”
— Axios (@axios) August 2, 2018
Ms Trump, and her stepmother and first lady Melania Trump, put pressure on the President to end the contentious policy of separation of families.
The first lady has made two visits to border immigration facilities to meet with children separated from their parents.
The US government has since said all “eligible” children and parents have been reunited, but National Public Radio reported that hundreds of children still remained in federal custody as of the June 26 deadline.
Toward the end of Friday’s forum Ms Trump was asked whether she considered the journalists in the room to be “the enemy of the people”.
“No, I do not,” she replied, prompting laughter from the audience.
“I’ve certainly received my fair share of reporting on me personally that I know not to be fully accurate, so I have some sensitivity around why people have concerns and gripes, especially when they sort of feel targeted, but no, I do not consider the media the enemy of the people,” Ms Trump said.
President Trump has used the term on multiple occasions, and his feud with various media organisations was on display again this week when he promoted a video on Twitter showing his supporters chanting “CNN sucks” as a journalist from the network reported from a campaign rally hosted by the President in Tampa.
The video was tweeted by Mr Trump’s son Eric and then shared by the President with his 53 million followers.
— Eric Trump (@EricTrump) August 1, 2018
During a fractious briefing with reporters on Thursday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined multiple invitations to say that she did not consider the media to be “the enemy of the people”.
“I’m here to speak on behalf of the President,” Ms Sanders said.
“The President is rightfully frustrated,” she said, adding that 90 per cent of the coverage of him was negative.