President Donald Trump reportedly knows children are suffering at the border, and that it looks bad.
But he is reportedly reluctant to back down on the traumatic practice because he doesn't want to look weak.
Trump's daughter, Ivanka, showed him pictures of children suffering in detention, the news website Axios reported.
But Trump wants to compel Congress to pass immigration reform, and he's reportedly unwilling to budge on the detaining kids until they do.
"He's moved personally, but also doesn't want to look weak," a senior administration official reportedly said of Trump.
President Donald Trump has handed Congress the problem of separating families at the border, and reportedly won't back down on the traumatic practice because he doesn't want to look weak.
Trump's daughter, Ivanka, showed him pictures of children suffering in detention, the news website Axios reported, but he remained undeterred.
Ivanka previously had success moving Trump to act when she showed him pictures of children gassed in Syria.
Trump's aides had previously shown him photos of detained migrant children playing video games, exercising outside, and smiling, a senior administration official told The Washington Post.
But while Trump receives special briefings from those close to him, many in the US has been rocked by audio of the children crying while in detention in what's become an extra emotional news cycle in an already vitriolic presidency.
A senior administration official told Axios why Trump wasn't budging on the issue.
"He's doing it to press the case with Congress," the official said. "He's moved personally, but also doesn't want to look weak. He feels boxed in, is frustrated and knows it's bad politics — but also understands it's not a fight he can back down from."
On Tuesday dozens of current and former US attorneys wrote a letter to Trump condemning the practice. The UN Human Rights Council, as well as many other human rights organizations, have also condemned it.
Following the UN criticism, the US withdrew from the Human Rights Council, though it cited the body's history of targeting Israel as its reason.
Trump has repeatedly sought to shift blame towards Congress and Democrats, though it's his administration that chooses how to enforce the laws, and has brought about the crisis.
The president has repeatedly attempted to deflect criticism by tweeting variants of "CHANGE THE LAWS."
Trump on Tuesday expressed support for a Republican compromise bill that would seek to alleviate the situation in a closed door meeting with GOP lawmakers. Democrats had no input in the draft of the bill.
Trump's administration has also talked up the deterrent value of separating families, frequently saying the parents who bring them illegally across the border are putting them in grave danger.
On that line of defense, Trump's rationalization of detaining migrants sounds a lot like his predecessor, Barack Obama.