Political News

Are Journalists the Enemy of the People? Ivanka Trump Says They’re Not

Posted August 2, 2018 10:55 p.m. EDT
Updated August 2, 2018 11:00 p.m. EDT

WASHINGTON — Ivanka Trump appeared on Thursday to break step with two of the most contentious issues surrounding her father’s administration: She disagreed with President Donald Trump’s position that the press is the enemy of the people, and she said the administration’s hard-line stance on immigration that resulted in separating children from their parents was a “low point” during her time in the White House.

When asked during an interview with the news site Axios whether she shared her father’s vitriol for the news media, Trump, a senior adviser to the president, said, “I do not.”

Donald Trump feels the news media cover him unfavorably and has repeatedly complained about the press since his candidacy. He recently has ramped up his attacks, particularly in front of angry crowds of supporters at rallies and in his Twitter posts.

Ivanka Trump, the president’s eldest daughter, said in the interview that she shared some of his complaints about the media, but stopped short of condemning journalists.

“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 gripe, especially when they’re sort of targeted,” she said. “But no, I do not feel that the media is the enemy of the people.”

With her comments on the media, Ivanka Trump became the lone senior administration official to publicly say that she did not share the president’s view. Her statement stood in contrast to a news briefing held later that day by Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary.

When asked repeatedly by a CNN reporter to publicly say whether she supported or denounced Donald Trump’s view that the media are the enemy, Sanders said that she was “here to speak on behalf of the president.”

“He’s made his comments clear,” Sanders said. By late afternoon on Thursday, Donald Trump said in a tweet that his daughter “correctly said no” that the news media are the enemy. But he again lashed out at what he described as “FAKE NEWS.”

Ivanka Trump’s comments on migrant family separations, while couched in emotion, were closer to White House policy.

At first, she appeared to voice dissent on how families had been separated at the United States border with Mexico. “I felt very strongly about that, and I am very vehemently against family separation and the separation of parents and children,” she said.

Trump referred to the issue of family separations in the past tense, but hundreds of families remain apart. Some 3,000 children were forcibly removed from a parent as a result of the administration’s so-called zero-tolerance policy on immigration. Officials are still working to reunite hundreds of children with their parents; as of last week, about 1,800 migrant families had been reunited.

“Ivanka’s comments today echo comments previously made by the president,” Lindsay Walters, a White House spokeswoman, said in a statement. “The president has publicly stated that he, too, does not like to see families separated and that he urges Congress to take action.”

In the interview, Ivanka Trump issued what was essentially a retooled version of the White House’s approach to immigration — similar to the softer tone that has been struck by other administration figures like Melania Trump, the Slovenian-born first lady.

"I am a daughter of an immigrant — my mother grew up in communist Czech Republic — but we are a country of laws,” Trump added. “We have to be very careful about incentivizing behavior that puts children at risk of being trafficked, at risk of entering this country with coyotes or making an incredibly dangerous journey alone.”

“These are not easy issues; these are incredibly difficult issues, and like the rest of the country, I experience them in a very emotional way.”

Before her interview on Thursday, Ivanka Trump had kept her comments on the immigration policy contained to Twitter, where she lashed out at “trolls” who condemned her for posting cheery photos of her children as migrant families were being split up.

The president said she had addressed the issue with him, which further inflamed her critics.