President Donald Trump, with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Vice President Mike Pence. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday intended to end his administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their families at the border, stating that he "wants to keep families together" but also enforce the zero-tolerance policy that created this crisis.

"I feel very strongly about it. I think anybody with a heart would feel very strongly about it. We don’t like to see families separated. At the same time we don’t want people coming into our country illegally. This takes care of the problem.”
— President Trump

The backdrop: The order, which Trump signed sandwiched between Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Vice President Mike Pence, comes days after Trump and his Cabinet refused to publicly back down from the policy, instead punting the issue to Congress.

Top Trump quotes from the signing:

  • "Gonna have a lot of happy people," he said as he signed the order.
  • Trump says his family pressed him on the issue: "Ivanka feels very strongly, my wife feels very strongly about it, I feel very strongly about it. I think anybody with a heart would feel very strongly about it."

Read the full order here.

Go deeper

GOP plans "nightly surprise" for revamped convention

President Trump at the 2016 Republican National Convention. Photo: Bill Clark/Getty Images

The reworked Republican National Convention will be a four-night spectacle including still-under-wraps venues, a 10 p.m. "nightly surprise" and guests and themes playing to "the forgotten men and women of America," two senior Trump campaign officials involved tell Axios.

Driving the news: The messaging will focus heavily on "very granular details" of what a second term for President Trump would look like — answering a question Trump left hanging in a Fox News event earlier this summer — and attack cancel culture, "radical elements" of society and threats to public safety.

37 mins ago - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: Fear of voting

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: ±3.0% margin of error for the total sample; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Democrats are twice as likely as Republicans to worry about in-person voting — with nearly two in three seeing it as a large or moderate risk to their health — according to this week's installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: This could pose a significant disadvantage for Joe Biden and other Democratic candidates in November if the pattern holds — especially in states where high infection rates persist, or where there are significant hurdles to mail-in, absentee or early voting.

Trump: Coronavirus is "under control"

President Trump said in an interview with “Axios on HBO” that he thinks the coronavirus is as well-controlled in the U.S. as it can be, despite dramatic surges in new infections over the course of the summer and more than 150,000 American deaths.

  • “They are dying, that's true. And you have — it is what it is. But that doesn't mean we aren't doing everything we can. It's under control as much as you can control it. This is a horrible plague,” he told Axios' Jonathan Swan.