U.S. President Donald Trump's abrupt reversal in a volatile immigration crisis resulted from pressure by close family members, friends and lawmakers who urged him to climb down from a deeply unpopular hardline policy.
He tried to blame Democrats, saying they had failed to work with Republicans on immigration and accusing them of wanting illegal immigrants to "pour into and infest our country".
"The United States will not be a migrant camp and it will not be a refugee holding facility," he said on Monday.
But the collective pressure from people in Trump's inner circle was intense, especially from his wife, Melania Trump, and eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, and it finally persuaded him to back down, sources familiar with the situation said.
Privately, Trump understood that he was facing a huge political problem, and he was keenly aware of negative news coverage, watching TV at times on a television in the small dining room adjacent to the Oval Office, a source close to him said.
As the searing images from the border dominated media coverage, Melania Trump got more vocal with her husband in the last couple of days, telling him words to the effect: "This isn't working out very well," the official said.
"The optics were terrible for him," said one of those friends. "It was the consistent number of people telling him it was a problem. It wasn't like he talked to one person. It was everybody. There was nobody saying this isn't a problem."
Trump decided to seek a solution on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning in response to "the growing media outcry," said a senior White House official.
A source familiar with the situation said the failure of a legislative fix on Tuesday on Capitol Hill also prompted Trump to switch positions. A whip count of lawmakers made clear leaders were short of the votes needed to get legislation through the House of Representatives, the source said.
Evangelical groups that support Trump as well as the Catholic bishops were among the key voices in the chorus of people urging a solution. In an interview with Reuters on Wednesday, Pope Francis criticized the administration policy, saying populism is not the solution to the immigration problem.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)