Ivanka Trump said Thursday that the separation of thousands of children from their parents at the border as a result of the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy was a "low point" for her in the White House.
Speaking at an Axios event in Washington, DC, Trump said that she was "vehemently against family separation and the separation of parents and children."
However, she added that immigration — especially illegal immigration — was an "incredibly complicated" issue. She also noted that she was the daughter of a legal immigrant to the US and then went on to list the dangers of "incentivizing" illegal immigration.
Trump — who has modeled herself as an advocate for child and family-friendly issues in the White House — had been conspicuously silent on the administration’s controversial zero tolerance immigration policy that separated more than 2,500 children from their families at the border since May.
She was also called out for sharing photos of herself enjoying her children's company on social media, while footage, photos, and audio clips from the border and immigration centers painted a devastating picture of the impact the immigration crisis had on children.
She only broke her silence to thank her father for signing an executive order ending the family separation policy in June.
During Thursday's interview, Axios's Mike Allen asked Trump if — like her White House colleagues — the family separation issue at the border was a "low point" for her.
"Yes, that was a low point for me as well," Trump said. "I feel very strongly about that and I am very vehemently against family separation and the separation of parents and children. So I would agree with that sentiment. Immigration is incredibly complex as a topic. Illegal immigration is incredibly complicated.
"I am the daughter of an immigrant," she continued. "My mother grew up in communist Czech Republic, but we are a country of laws. She came to this country legally and we have to be very careful about incentivizing behavior that puts children at risk of being trafficked, at risk of entering the country with coyotes or making an incredibly dangerous journey alone. These are not easy issues. There are incredibly difficult issues and like the rest of the country I experience them in a very emotional way."
Hundreds of children have yet to be reunited with their families after last week's reunification deadline.
Trump also said Thursday that she did not view the media as the enemy of the people, breaking with her father's constant attacks on the press.
She said that she had had her share of "reporting on me personally that I know not to be fully accurate."
"I've had some sensitivity around why people have concerns and gripe especially when they feel they're targeted," Trump said. "But no, I do not feel the media is the enemy of the people."
Her comments come in the wake of the Trump administration's increasingly inflammatory rhetoric against the media. The president — who has explicitly labeled the media as the "enemy of the people" — recently endorsed videos that showed hundreds of his supporters berating a CNN reporter at a Trump rally in Florida.
In response to the interview, President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday afternoon that his daughter's response was correct, but added that "the FAKE NEWS, which is a large percentage of the media" is the "enemy of the people!"
The president has previously said news organizations, including The New York Times, NBC News, ABC, CBS and CNN are "the enemy of the American People!"
On Wednesday, President Trump also called on his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, to end special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
During Thursday's interview, Ivanka denied that she had talked to Mueller or his team in relation to the Russia probe. She also said that she did not know about the 2016 Trump Tower meeting that her brother — Donald Trump Jr. — had with Russians, which is a focus of the Mueller investigation. Ivanka also said she did not see any of the Russian visitors at Trump Tower.