First lady Melania Trump sent President Trump no public Father’s Day greetings, choosing instead to reinforce one of his misleading talking points about immigrant families.
Over the weekend, outrage built around the Trump administration’s forced separation of immigrant parents and children at the U.S.-Mexico border. Former First Lady Laura Bush published a scathing op-ed in the Washington Post on Sunday condemning the policy and calling it “cruel” and “immoral.” The piece quickly went viral.
Melania Trump — who is an immigrant, as are her parents — also weighed in on Sunday, attempting a conciliatory tone. Her spokesperson, Stephanie Grisham, issued a statement to The Hill: “Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform. She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart.”
In the “both sides” language, the first lady echoed Republican talking points about the growing crisis. President Trump has falsely blamed the Democrats for the separations. In reality, it the Trump administration’s policy to undertake the separations — spearheaded by adviser Stephen Miller and chief of staff John Kelly — and there is no law requiring it. The president could end them at any time.
As of Monday afternoon, all 49 Democratic senators have signed on to a bill, the Keep Families Together Act, that would stop the policy. No Republicans have joined them.
Melania Trump’s cold shouldering of the president on Father’s Day was somewhat expected, following a series of Twitter slights by the president. In a tweet welcoming the first lady home from the hospital after a kidney procedure, President Trump accidentally called her “Melanie.” He deleted and reposted the tweet, but not before it went widely viral.
On Mother’s Day, Trump tweeted a video message paying tribute to his mother but saying nothing about the first lady, the mother of his youngest child, Barron. (Or his two ex-wives, mothers of the other four Trump children.)
The first lady then didn’t mention the president’s birthday on June 14.
The distance stands in contrast to former President Obama and Michelle Obama, who consistently shared effusive social-media posts on their birthdays and anniversaries, often with anecdotes about their relationship strength and history.