The meeting comes as the administration defends its controversial policy of separating families at the U.S. border.
GOP House leaders, increasingly fearful of voter reaction in November, met with Trump for about an hour at the Capitol to try to work out some resolution.
“We had a great meeting,” he called out as he left, but he gave no other information on possible progress.
The meeting came as lawmakers in both parties complain about the administration’s “zero tolerance” approach to illegal border crossings, in particular the separation of families at the southern border.
Audio published by the investigative nonprofit Pro Publica was allegedly taken along the United States’ southern border. Civil rights attorney Jennifer Harbury says she received the audio from a whistleblower who says it was recorded last week.
CBS News hasn’t been able to independently confirm the authenticity of the recording.
“It’s where children have been brought after they were separated from their parents,” Harbury said.
Newly released numbers from the Department of Homeland Security show over 2,300 children were separated from their parents at the border from May 5 to June 9.
Democrats have said that the administration do something to keep migrant families together. Republicans are increasingly joining Democrats in that call.
“No one should get into this country who doesn’t meet legal needs, but you don’t have to separate parents from children while that adjudication is occurring,” Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said. “He can just change it by his own administrative action tomorrow.”
Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said the Trump administration’s policy is “an affront to the decency of the American people” and contrary to principles and values upon which the nation was founded.
McCain tweeted Monday night that the administration has the power to rescind this policy and “should do so now.”
Speaking before a group of independent business owners where he at one point embraced the American flag, the president touched on the subject.
“When you prosecute the parents for coming in illegally, which should happen, you have to take the children away,” Trump said. “Now, we don’t have to prosecute them, but then we’re not prosecuting them for coming in illegally. That’s not good.”
The president says there are also a large number of adults fraudulently posing as family members of children at the border to get in, and it must be addressed.
“Smugglers learned the loopholes in this horrible, rotten system that the Democrats have to help us fix,” Trump said.
The president said it was up to Congress, not him, to stop the family separation crisis.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen says children separated from their parents are well taken care of.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)