Why a happy photo of Ivanka Trump with her child provoked rage

When does a perfect Kodak moment between a mother and child become the target of instant online rage?

When the mother is Ivanka Trump, and the moment is posted to social media amid international headlines decrying her father's immigration policies – which have separated children from their parents as families seek asylum across the border from Mexico.

Ivanka Trump posted this photo to Instagram and Twitter on Sunday.

The First Daughter posted a softly-lit photo of herself cuddling her son Theodore to both Twitter and Instagram on Sunday, with the simple caption of "My ♥️! #SundayMorning".

At any other time, such a post might have gone without much notice.

But for the past week, Americans have been tweeting #WhereAreTheChildren after it was revealed the US government lost track of 1475 unaccompanied minors last year. These were children who had arrived in America alone and been placed with carers, who may or may not have been relatives.

A previous case in which federal officials accidentally turned over eight immigrant children to human traffickers sparked widespread fears that these missing children may have ended up similarly victimised.

At the same time, images have been circulating of children, separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border and held in detention centres, sleeping on the floor.

This follows the May 7 announcement by US Attorney-General Jeff Sessions that the Justice Department would begin prosecuting "100 per cent" of people who crossed the border "unlawfully" – including those attempting to seek asylum legitimately.

This is resulting in parents being forcibly separated from their children as they are placed in adult prisons awaiting prosecution.

The children, meanwhile, are being held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

In the course of the day, Ms Trump's tweet gathered more than 19,000 replies, the majority of which – whether they saw her post as calculated cruelty or simply tone deaf – were angry.

"If there were a Tone-Deaf Olympics, you would be its Michael Phelps," tweeted John Pavlovitz.

Another user described Ms Trump's post as "the behavioral equivalent to lighting money on fire in front of a homeless person and spitting on them."

with agencies

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