She has had her fair share of fashion faux pas, but Melania Trump’s latest sartorial contention is undoubtedly her most toe-curlingly ignorant move so far.
On Thursday, Melania made a surprise trip to the US-Mexico border to visit some of the 2,000 detained immigrant children who have been separated from their parents thanks to her husband’s zero tolerance immigration policy.
As the First Lady climbed the stairs to her plane bound for Texas, the entire world gasped as they spotted the graffiti-scrawled message on the back of her khaki jacket that read: ‘I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?’.
Having previously received endless criticism for stepping out wearing a pair of six-inch Manolo Blahnik stilettos to visit the stranded Texan victims of Hurricane Harvey, it’s almost as though Melania – whose role is, fundamentally, TO care – is competing with herself for the most tone-deaf sartorial response to struggling victims.
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Wardrobes aside, this was always set to be a contentious trip, considering that it would be entirely redundant had her husband not essentially orphaned these children and babies.
In light of that, you would presume that Melania – and her many advisers – might consider a somewhat sensitive wardrobe. I’m not talking pitying badges or mourning dress, but an inoffensive, graffiti-less outfit shouldn’t have been too much to expect.
In reaction to the public outrage, Melania’s spokesperson, Stephanie Grisham, said: “It’s a jacket. There was no hidden message.” And in some way, she’s not wrong – the message certainly wasn’t hidden. It was entirely plain to see. But was it misinterpreted?
Taking to Twitter (naturally), Donald Trump justified his wife’s choice of attire by suggesting that it refers to her lack of interest in “Fake News”.
But it seems a strange opportunity to showcase such a sentiment so ambiguously.
Grisham also said that after the First Lady’s important visit to Texas, she hoped the jacket wouldn’t be what the media chose to focus on.
Do we believe her? Did the White House and Melania really hope no one would notice, never mind discuss, the bizarre move?
Perplexing message aside, the Zara jacket’s £29 price-tag would’ve been a talking point in itself – her socks alone likely cost triple. So, even if it weren’t decorated with an outwardly-offensive message, the jacket would’ve incited a discussion. It would even potentially have been, God forbid, a positive one, if the talk surrounding those inappropriately expensive Manolo Blahnik’s was anything to go by.
So why, if the First Lady is happy to wear high street, did she not opt for one of the brand’s many other pieces sans-scribble?
Perhaps her stylist was pre-empting the inevitable condemnation of whatever Melania stepped out in, and the jacket was purely a message to the critics (a theory backed-up by the fact that she removed it before disembarking).