Ivanka Trump is defending her father's response to the migrant crisis unfolding at the U.S. southern border

By Maura Hohman
November 29, 2018 03:08 PM
Rick Friedman/rickfriedman.com/Corbis/Getty

Ivanka Trump is defending her father’s response to the migrant crisis unfolding at the U.S. southern border.

In an interview aired on Good Morning America Wednesday, the first daughter, 37, discussed the viral images taken over the weekend that show families, including children in diapers, being tear-gassed by U.S. Border Patrol as they approached a partial wall between Mexico and California.

“I think, like any other person with a heart, it’s devastating to see the images, and seeing children put at risk, running towards the border is heartbreaking — there’s no other way to process it,” Ivanka told ABC journalist Deborah Roberts. “It also makes me angry that we haven’t been able to come together as a nation and change our laws.”

When asked directly, the mother of three denied that her father, President Donald Trump, had authorized the use of lethal force at the border.

“I don’t believe that’s what he said, but his primary role as commander in chief is obviously to protect the nation’s borders,” she said. “He has to protect our country’s security, but I don’t — lethal force in this case, that is not something that I think anyone is talking about.”

Then, she was confronted with footage of her father saying exactly that — “If they have to, they’re going to use lethal force. I’ve given the okay … I hope they don’t have to,” the president told reporters on Thanksgiving.

Backtracking, former fashion mogul answered, “So lethal force under any circumstance would be the last resort, but he is the commander in chief of the armed forces of this country, so he always has to be able to protect the border.”

She then spoke about the families and children seeking asylum who may have been subject to said forces: “He’s not talking about … innocent asylum seekers … Nobody wants to see anybody get hurt, and I think for many months we’ve talked about finding that bipartisan solution, fixing this border crisis, and no one can now look at the situation we have and say that our border is not in crisis. It is,” she said.

The president has criticized the migrant caravan since before the midterm elections, painting its members — many of whom are women and children — as invaders and criminals.

Also during the GMA interview, Ivanka addressed the controversy around her emails after The Washington Post reported earlier in November that she had sent hundreds of private emails to White House aides, Cabinet members and assistants, which broke federal records rules. During the campaign, Trump called Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server “corruption … on a scale we have never seen before.”

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“There really is no equivalency,” Ivanka claimed. “All of my emails that relate to any form of government work, which was mainly scheduling and logistics and managing the fact that I have a home life and a work life, are all part of the public record. They’re all stored on the White House system. So everything has been preserved, everything’s been archived.”

She further insisted that she had “no intent to circumvent” and claimed that “there’s no connection between the two things.”

“People who want to see it as the same see it as the same,” Ivanka continued. “But the fact is that we all have private emails and personal emails to coordinate with our family … and there’s no prohibition from using private email as long as it’s archived and as long as there’s nothing in it that’s classified.”

When Roberts asked if the president’s supporters’ call about Clinton — “lock her up” — should be directed toward her, Ivanka said, “No.”