First Lady Melania Trump made a surprise visit to a Texas facility housing immigrant children on Thursday, but it's the coat she wore to board Air Force One in Washington, D.C., that has everyone asking . . . why?
According to the Daily Mail, which first published the photo, Melania Trump worse a $39 Zara brand green anorak-style coat for her trip to Texas, emblazoned with the words, "I Don't Really Care, Do U?" — a message that was easy to read as the First Lady boarded her plane.
Social media users were quick to assume the photo was fake — there was no way, after all, that the Trump White House would allow the First Lady to make such a statement, even accidentally, about an issue they'd been struggling with for more than a week. Even your fair reporter clicked on the link ready to defend her. After all, no other photos of Melania on the ground in Texas, nor at the detention facility, showed her wearing the coat.
The photos, however, quickly began to show up on other wire services.
The photo of Melania on the left is an unaltered Associated Press photo that is one the wire right now. https://t.co/i6WDfj5UQF— Tim Mak (@timkmak) June 21, 2018
The White House confirmed the First Lady's bizarre sartorial choice Thursday afternoon, chastising the media for taking notice of what they believe to be a small, inconsequential detail. An overjoyed Jim Acosta tweeted the news:
FLOTUS spox confirms Mrs. Trump wore a jacket to visit border kids that reads: "I really don't care. Do you?" Spox says: "It's a jacket. There was no hidden message. After today's important visit to Texas, I hope the media isn't going to choose to focus on her wardrobe." pic.twitter.com/Bp4Z8n455G— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) June 21, 2018
"It's a jacket. There was no hidden message," the First Lady's spokesperson reportedly told reporters. "After today's important visit to Texas, I hope the media isn't going to choose to focus on her wardrobe."
But, in this case, perhaps the media, including friendly media, should focus on her wardrobe. Melania Trump's surprise trip to Texas to visit detention facilities used to house children separated from their parents while they await an asylum hearing was perhaps the first good public relations move the White House has made in days.
Since the family separation policy came to light last week, the message from the Trump Administration has been one of, at alternating times, denial, projection, blame, acceptance, and finally, solution. The First Lady was given credit Wednesday for helping to convince her husband to change the policy by Executive Order, and her decision today to take a closer look at how immigrant families were living, and the conditions in which they have been detained, showed real heart.
Until the pictures hit the wire services. And then the question became whether the First Lady was really concerned about the emotional and physical well-being of immigrant children, or whether she was just following orders — orders she didn't particularly like.
If the jacket was a random sartorial choice — or, as some have suggested may have happened, given to her on the fly because of bad weather — it begs the question of whether the First Lady's staff is even competent enough to catch a very visible — and definitely predictable — public relations disaster before it happens.
What, on Earth, was she thinking?