First lady Melania Trump has admitted she “was blindsided” by the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy and told her husband she felt it was unacceptable.
The first lady sat down with ABC News' Tom Llamas during her solo trip to Africa. The network published portions of the interview Friday on “Good Morning America.” ABC News aired more from the interview during an hour-long special broadcast Friday night, when she discussed her trip to the border and the immigration policy.
When asked on where she stood on chain migration, the first lady said she believed in her husband’s policies.
“I believe in the policies my husband put together because I believe that we need to be very vigilant who’s coming to the country,” she said.
Trump told ABC News she “reacted right away” when she saw on the news that children were being separated from their families at the border.
“It was unacceptable for me to see children and parents separated. It was heartbreaking. And I reacted with my own voice. I went to the border and met with the border patrol,” she said.
The first lady told ABC News she didn’t agree with the policy and let her husband know.
“Yes and I let him [the president] know. I didn’t know that that policy will come out. I was blindsided about it. I told him at home and I said to him that I feel that’s unacceptable and he felt the same,” Trump said.
The first lady said if she could give a message to the children separated at the border, it would be to "keep strong."
"I would tell them to keep strong and that time will come and everything needs to go through the court system," she said.
The first lady also covered the controversial jacket that she wore en route to visit the detained children. She was pictured wearing a jacket that bore the words: “I really don’t care, do you?” while boarding a flight to the border at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. She wore the same jacket when she departed the aircraft after returning to the D.C. area.
When asked why she wore the jacket, the first lady said it was a message to “people and the left-wing media who are criticizing me.”
“I often ask myself if I would not wear that jacket if I would have so much media coverage. It’s obvious I didn’t wear the jacket for the children. I wore the jacket to go on the plane and off the plane and it was for the people and the left-wing media who are criticizing me and I wanna show them that I don’t care. You can criticize whatever you wanna say but it will not stop me to do what I feel is right,” she said.
She said she purposely wore the jacket on the flight back to Washington after seeing "how the media was obsessed about it."
"It was kind of a message, yes," the first lady said.
Fox News’ Samuel Chamberlain, Kaitlyn Schallhorn and the Associated Press contributed to this report.