First lady Melania Trump said she was "blindsided" by the administration's zero-tolerance immigration policy that led to family separations at the southern border and it prompted her unannounced visit there in June.
"I saw it on the news, and I reacted right away," Trump said in an interview for ABC News' special "Being Melania," which aired Friday night. "It was unacceptable for me to see children and parents separated. It was heartbreaking. And I reacted with my own voice."
Government and public administration
Immigration, citizenship and displacement
International relations and national security
Political Figures - US
US immigrant family separation
Asked if she disagreed with the administration's zero-tolerance policy, Trump said, "Yes and I let him (the President) know. "I didn't know that that policy would come out. I was blindsided by it. I told him at home, and I said to him that I feel that's unacceptable, and he felt the same."
Trump said she would tell parents who are still separated from their children "to keep strong and that time will come. Everything needs to go through the court system."
Trump also was asked about her parents' path to citizenship during the interview. Viktor and Amalija Knavs obtained citizenship through the chain migration policy her husband derides.
"I believe in the policies that my husband put together because I believe that we need to be very vigilant who's coming to the country," she said.
She added that she believes parents of Americans should be allowed to come to the United States, but said "we need to vet them, we need to know who they are," something she said she has told her husband, and "he agrees."
Pressed on the issue, Trump said, "I think he believes the same, that chain migration, he doesn't want to just cut it off completely. We need to vet the people, and we need to make sure they believe in our system."
Trump also addressed questions about a controversial jacket she wore during her visit to the border.
The jacket, which on the back stated "I really don't care, do u?" was intended to send a message, Trump said in the ABC News interview, despite her spokeswoman's claim at the time that it was "just a jacket."
Trump said the jacket was aimed at people and left-wing media that criticize her.
"It was kind of a message, yes. I would prefer that they focus on what I do and my initiatives than what I wear," she said.
"You know I often asking myself, I would not wear that 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 for the left-wing media who are criticizing me," she said.
She continued, "I want to show them that I don't care. You could criticize whatever you want to say, but it will not stop me to do what I feel is right."
Trump was asked why she put the jacket back on after her visit with the children on the border. She confirmed she was trolling the media.
"After the visit, I put it back on because I see how the media got obsessed by it," she said.