First Lady Melania Trump drew a storm of controversy on Thursday when she made an unannounced visit to see the conditions of migrant families and children being detained at the U.S.-Mexico border.
But the outcry was not about the content of her visit so much as her attire. As Trump boarded her plane to Texas, she was photographed wearing a jacket that read, “I really don’t care. Do U?”
While she was not wearing the jacket when she landed in McAllen, Texas, according to CNN, the First Lady’s choice of attire struck many as insensitive. Her husband’s administration has received widespread criticism in recent weeks over its “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, which has led to thousands of children being separated from their parents at the border while the adults are charged with illegally crossing into the U.S.
After the intense backlash, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Orderon Wednesday reversing the administration’s stance on family separation and saying families should be detained together. But immigrants’ advocates say this does not solve the problem and have accused the administration of not caring about the immigrants it is detaining.
When the internet took notice of Melania Trump’s jacket on Thursday, her communications director responded by saying there was no “hidden message.”
“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,” the First Lady’s Communications Director Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.
Grisham made a similar point on social media, tweeting a message with the hashtag “#ItsJustAJacket”.
Today’s visit w the children in Texas impacted @flotus greatly. If media would spend their time & energy on her actions & efforts to help kids – rather than speculate & focus on her wardrobe – we could get so much accomplished on behalf of children. #SheCares #ItsJustAJacket
— Stephanie Grisham (@StephGrisham45) June 21, 2018
However, the President soon contradicted this message by sending out his own interpretation of his wife’s outfit.
“I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” written on the back of Melania’s jacket, refers to the Fake News Media. Melania has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 21, 2018
Others were not as amused. Some Democratic members of Congress weighed in, making their displeasure clear.
— Dina Titus (@repdinatitus) June 21, 2018
As public officials, it is our job to care. #ShirleyChisholm once said, “America has the laws and the material resources it takes to insure justice for all its people. What it lacks is the heart, the humanity.” Let’s live w/ our heart.
— Rep. Val Demings (@RepValDemings) June 21, 2018
I saw Melania’s jacket, but I’m more concerned about Republicans trying to take away health care from millions of Americans.
— David Cicilline (@davidcicilline) June 21, 2018
Some leaders of progressive groups and celebrities known for their liberal views also criticized the First Lady’s jacket.
Melania Trump jacket that says “I don’t really care, do you?” $39
Cost to taxpayers to fly her to Texas: $200,000#BlueWave in Congress and statehouses in November: Priceless
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) June 21, 2018
Since Melania Trump's jacket said "I really don't care"…
I set up https://t.co/GL1FF0KpBs
Click the link and it'll take you to a site where you can donate to 14 awesome groups helping immigrants all at once. Feel free to RT if that's your jam. pic.twitter.com/TPc4y4ZUfh
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) June 21, 2018
melania rocking Internet Research Agency couture
— Desus Nice (@desusnice) June 21, 2018
— Charlotte Clymer?️? (@cmclymer) June 21, 2018
And even Dictionary.com decided to publish a pointed tweet defining the word “indifference” and explaining its definition matched what it saw as the First Lady’s message.
Indifference. Lack of interest or care.
— Dictionary.com (@Dictionarycom) June 21, 2018