McAllen, Texas (CNN) — First lady Melania Trump touched down in McAllen, Texas, Thursday making a publicly unannounced and hastily planned trip to get a first-hand look at the crisis affecting immigrant families at the US border.
In doing so, she becomes the first Trump family member to personally witness the situation that has captured the country’s attention over the past several weeks.
"She wants to see what’s real," said the first lady’s spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham told CNN during a 10-minute press briefing en route to Texas. "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 visit comes one day after President Donald Trump signed an executive order to cease his own administration’s separation practice that has caused wide-ranging criticism and consternation. Previously the President had insisted Congress needed to act to stop the practice, but then reversed that claim.
Acting or commenting from the sidelines apparently was not enough for Trump, who fewer 48 hours ago informed her staff — and her husband, the President of the United States — that she had decided she needed to see for herself the family intake and unaccompanied children facilities.
The facilities have all but dominated the news for days on end, causing heated political battles from the White House to Capitol Hill, ricocheting around the world in an uproar of disbelief and consternation.