Melania Trump: I Was ‘Blindsided’ by ‘Unacceptable’ Family Separation Policy
The first lady distances herself from the policy on the same day reports surface that the White House is considering renewing it.
Amid multiple reports of the Trump administration weighing options to bring back its widely condemned family separations policy at the border, First Lady Melania Trump is trying to distance herself from it.
In an interview with ABC News given during her first solo trip abroad, she said she was “blindsided” by the policy when it was first implemented earlier this year.
“I saw it on the news, and I reacted right away,” she said. “It was unacceptable for me to see children and parents separated. It was heartbreaking. And I reacted with my own voice.”
She went on to say the president shared her concerns over the policy, which he repeatedly blamed on Democrats once it sparked a backlash.
“I didn't know that that policy would come out. I was blindsided by it. I told him at home, and I said to him that I feel that's unacceptable, and he felt the same,” she said.
Asked how she can support Trump’s immigration policies, particularly his opposition to so-called chain migration, which her own parents benefited from, Melania Trump said she’s behind him 100 percent.
“I believe in the policies that my husband put together because I believe that we need to be very vigilant who's coming to the country.”
The first lady’s comments aired hours after The Washington Post cited several administration officials who said the White House is eyeing options to bring back its family-separation policy in a new form.
Senior White House adviser Stephen Miller is said to be the driving force behind plans to reinstate the policy, arguing that the forced separations, which drew condemnation from the United Nations over the summer, were actually effective in deterring illegal migration.
The White House is said to be focusing on one option—called “binary choice”—that would see the government hold asylum-seeking families in detention for 20 days before giving the parents the choice of either keeping their children with them in detention or allowing them to be held in a government shelter. If they opt for the latter choice, other relatives of the children would be able to seek custody while the parents remain in detention for months or years, according to the report.
It was not immediately clear how the “binary choice” option would address overcrowding in shelters, an issue that reportedly prompted authorities in Arizona to abruptly release hundreds of detained immigrant families earlier this month without following traditional protocols.