WASHINGTON — Ivanka Trump distanced herself from her father on two high-profile issues Thursday, saying that she did not agree with his characterization of the media as “the enemy of the people” and that she was “vehemently against” separating migrant children from their parents at the border – calling the latter a low point of her tenure in the White House.

Her comments at a public event underscored the difficult balance Trump has sought as she provides private counsel to a president and father with whom she does not always see eye to eye, while enduring criticism for not being more outspoken about their differences.

Toward the end of a forum hosted by the news site Axios that focused largely on workforce issues, an area of focus for Trump in her capacity as a White House adviser, she was asked whether she considered journalists in the room to be “the enemy of the people.”

“No, I do not,” Trump replied, prompting nervous laughter in the room.

Asked to elaborate, Trump offered what she said was “my own personal perspective.”

“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 gripes, especially when they sort of feel targeted, but no, I do not consider the media the enemy of the people.”


President Trump has used the term on multiple occasions, and his animus for the media was on display again this week as he promoted a video on Twitter showing his supporters chanting “CNN sucks” as a reporter from the network did a live shot from the site of a campaign rally hosted by the president in Tampa.

The video was tweeted by Trump’s son Eric and then shared by the president with his 53 million followers.

The president tweeted a defense of his daughter later Thursday, arguing that his “enemy of the people” line did not apply to all of the news media but rather only “a large percentage” of it.

“They asked my daughter Ivanka whether or not the media is the enemy of the people,” Trump said. “She correctly said no. It is the FAKE NEWS, which is a large percentage of the media, that is the enemy of the people!”

Trump’s tweet came hours after a testy briefing with reporters at which White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined multiple invitations to say that she did not consider the media to be “the enemy of the people.”

“I’m here to speak on behalf of the president,” Sanders said, ticking off several grievances against reporters.


“The president is rightfully frustrated,” Sanders said. “Ninety percent of the coverage on him is negative.”

During Thursday’s event at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., Ivanka Trump was also asked by Mike Allen of Axios to share the high point and low point of her time in the White House.

Allen suggested a possible low point for her: the separations of migrant children at the southern border that resulted from the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy on immigration.

As a national controversy flared, Ivanka Trump reportedly asked her father to end the practice but remained publicly silent, prompting harsh criticism in some quarters – including from comedian Samantha Bee, who made national headlines by using a vulgarity to describe Trump’s reticence.

After Allen said that the forced family separations were a low point for many, Trump said “that was a low point for me, as well.”

“I feel very strongly about that,” she said. “I am very vehemently against family separation and the separation of parents and children.”


She went on to say that “immigration is incredibly complex as a topic.”

“I am a daughter of an immigrant. My mother grew up in Communist Czech Republic, but we are a country of laws,” Trump said. “These are not easy issues. These are incredibly difficult issues. I experience them in a very emotional way.”

Her comments Thursday prompted a cascade of criticism from adversaries of the president, who said Ivanka Trump should speak up more forcefully and more frequently.

“It’s easy and convenient to denounce an abhorrent policy after it’s ended,” Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., said in a tweet. “Doing the right thing is speaking out when it matters.”

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