Ivanka encouraged Trump to act to stop separations, made calls to lawmakers
Posted June 19, 2018 7:16 p.m. EDT
Updated June 19, 2018 9:43 p.m. EDT
(CNN) — Ivanka Trump met with her father, President Donald Trump, on Tuesday to discuss the images of immigrant families being separated at the US-Mexico border, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley told CNN.
"She offered the President her support and she said she would talk to any member of Congress to help find a legislative solution to the issue," Gidley said.
After the meeting, Ivanka Trump called House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, both Republican lawmakers with whom she developed a close relationship during her push on the child tax credit. On Monday, she had traveled to California for a fundraiser with McCarthy.
She agrees with her father's sentiments that he hates the family separation issue and doesn't want it to occur, although she has remained publicly silent on the topic.
Her private conversation with her father was first revealed by the President during a closed-door meeting Tuesday evening with House Republicans.
"He mentioned Ivanka talked to him about that," New York's Republican Rep. Chris Collins told reporters after the meeting.
Collins continued: "His daughter had seen the images and said for a lot of reasons we should be dealing with this. And that is what this bill does."
Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Florida, also said Trump mentioned being approached by his daughter about family separations.
"He mentioned that his daughter Ivanka had encouraged him to end this, and he said he does recognize that it needs to end and the images are painful and he's looking for a legislative solution," Curbelo said. "He discussed the optics and the policy itself, and I think he's not comfortable with either."
But asked if the President acknowledged he could change the policy or said he would, Curbelo said "no."
A legislative solution appeared far from certain as of Tuesday evening: Some lawmakers emerged from the hourlong huddle adamant that the President had endorsed a compromise measure that would allow families to remain together.
But others were more equivocal, saying the President only expressed support for any bill that arrives on his desk -- either the compromise plan or a more conservative version whose prospects appear dim.
It's unclear whether Ivanka Trump will comment publicly on the situation on the border, where more than 2,000 children have been separated from their parents as a result of the administration's policy.
There has been rare daylight between Ivanka Trump and her father publicly. It's no secret that Trump, one of the President's most trusted advisers, counsels her father on issues where she disagrees with other members of the administration, but the first daughter and mother of three does not speak out often. She came under fire last month for posting a weekend photo with her son as the reports of family separation began to spread.
Though her West Wing portfolio is not directly involved with immigration issues, she is an advocate in the White House for women and families.
Last month, the administration publicly announced its decision to charge every adult caught crossing the border illegally with federal crimes, as opposed to referring those with children mainly to immigration courts, as previous administrations did.
Because the government is charging the parents in the criminal justice system, children are separated from them, with no clear procedure for their reunification aside from hotlines the parents can call to try to track their children down.
In the past weeks, heartbreaking images and audio of children crying for their parents have captured the nation's attention as lawmakers seek a solution to end the separations and the White House doubles down on its insistence that it is simply enforcing the law.
Ivanka Trump's stepmother, first lady Melania Trump, issued a carefully crafted statement to CNN over the weekend.
"Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform," East Wing communications director Stephanie Grisham said, echoing much of the administration's stance on the issue.
"She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws but also a country that governs with heart," Grisham added.