Ivanka Trump Doesn’t Believe Her Father Authorized Lethal Force Against Migrants. He Did.

“He’s not talking about innocents,” she later clarified.

Ivanka Trump says she was heartbroken after seeing images this week of US Border Patrol agents firing tear gas into crowds that included migrant children. In an interview on Good Morning America Wednesday, she also claimed the ongoing situation at the border makes her “angry.” 

But when asked about the president’s recent decision to authorize the military to use lethal force on migrants, the first daughter—who serves as a senior adviser to her father—appeared to be learning the news for the first time. Visibly perplexed, she also suggested it was likely untrue.

“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,” Ivanka Trump said. “He has to protect our country’s security. But lethal force, in this case, that is not something that anyone is talking about.”

One problem: That’s exactly what her father is talking about.

“If they have to, they’re going to use lethal force,” Trump told reporters from Mar-a-Lago on Thursday. “I’ve given the okay, if they have to. I hope they don’t have to.”

When producers confronted Ivanka Trump with the clip of the president confirming he had authorized lethal force on migrants attempting to enter the country, the first daughter quickly attempted to clarify her remarks. “So, lethal force under any circumstance would be the last resort,” she said. “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.”

“He’s not talking about innocents,” she added. “So, he’s not talking about innocent asylum-seekers.”

This isn’t the first time Ivanka Trump has demonstrated a lack of understanding regarding her father’s immigration policies. Though she made headlines this summer by calling the Trump administration’s family separation policy a personal “low point,” a closer look at her remarks revealed that she didn’t appear to understand the timeline of the controversial policy. She also went on to echo the administration’s various defenses of it.

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

Dear Reader,

This feels like the most important fundraising drive since I've been CEO of Mother Jones, with staggeringly high stakes and so much uncertainty. In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," I try to unpack the reality we all face and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support Mother Jones’ nonprofit journalism: We need to raise $400,000 to help cover the vital reporting projects we have planned, and right now is no time to pull back.

Monika Bauerlein, CEO, Mother Jones

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate