Ivanka Says She Doesn’t Believe Donald Trump Sanctioned Lethal Force Against Asylum Seekers

dvisor to the President Ivanka Trump speaks during an event for American workers in the State Dining Room of the White House on October 31, 2018 in Washington, DC. (
Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Self-described “first daughter” and White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump told Good Morning America on Wednesday that her father hadn’t authorized the use of lethal force against asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border. When asked by host Deborah Roberts about the recent violence at the border, Ivanka said that she doesn’t “believe that’s what he said,” but clarified that as commander of the U.S. military, he needs to do whatever is necessary to protect the country.

Deborah Roberts asked Ivanka Trump how she felt about the harrowing images coming from the U.S. border, which show migrant children and women being tear-gassed. She said that “like any other person with a heart,” she found the images devastating, but that people in the caravan weren’t all innocent. When asked if she was concerned that her father had authorized lethal force against migrants in the caravan in Mexico. She scoffed, saying that no one was considering the use of lethal force.

“I don’t believe that that’s what he said, but his primary role as the nation’s commander in chief is obviously to protect our nation’s borders. He has to protect our country’s security,” she said. “But I don’t—lethal force, in this case would—that is not, I think, something that anyone’s talking about.”

Good Morning America then played the first daughter a clip of the president saying that he had authorized lethal force by military troops.

“If they have to, they’ve got to use lethal force. I’ve given the OK, yeah. If they have to. I hope they don’t have to,” the president says.

After the senior adviser watched the footage of the president, she hesitated and then clarified, saying that lethal force would be a “last resort.”

“So—lethal force, under any circumstance, would be the last resort. 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. So he’s not talking about innocent asylum-seekers,” she told Roberts.

Trump then went on to say that no one wants to see anyone get hurt, but that the two sides of the government need to come together to find a resolution to what she called a “border crisis.” She also expressed anger that the government hadn’t been able to come up with a bipartisan deal to “change our laws.”

“[N]o one can now look at the situation we have with the caravans and say that our border is not in crisis. It is,” she said.