First Lady Melania Trump on Thursday made a surprise visit to the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas, touring a nonprofit social-services facility for immigrant children.
The unannounced trip was an obvious effort to clean up President Trump’s mess the day after he caved to widespread criticism and ended his cruel policy of separating families detained at the border. That policy reversal came after the White House and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen spent a week issuing contradictory and false statements claiming either the policy didn’t exist, or was the Democrats’ fault, or that Trump had no power to end it.
The separation policy saw immigrant children being taken from their parents and housed in cage-like facilities with inadequate care and no concrete plan for ever reuniting the families.
Melania was reportedly disturbed by images from those facilities and allegedly played a role in getting her husband to reverse his policy.
The visit was “100% her idea," spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham told CNN, emphasizing that the trip was not assigned by Trump or the White House. “She wanted to come down.”
“She wants to see what’s real,” Grisham continued. “She wanted to see as close to what she had been seeing on TV. She wants to see a realistic view of what's happening.”
The first lady’s office on Sunday said she “hates to see children separated from their families.” And a White House official told The Washington Post on Wednesday that Melania “has become even more vocal about her thoughts and opinions on the topic… encouraging the president to do all he can to keep families together.”
And even after the president ended the family-separation policy, questions still linger as to whether the White House will ever find a way to reunite the families already separated by the Trump administration.
During her first stop, at the Upbring New Hope Children's Center, a non-profit center overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services, Trump asked how she can help reunite any families.
“We all know they are here without their families,” she said during a roundtable discussion. “I want to thank you for your hard work, your compassion and your kindness you’re giving them in these difficult times.”
Meanwhile, from a White House room, Trump boasted to reporters that the child centers are “the nicest that people have seen.”