The president has attempted to defend his wife’s controversial jacket – and, in doing so, has completely gone against the FLOTUS’ official spokeswoman.
Earlier this week, Melania Trump visited the Texas facilities where migrant children separated from their parents are being detained.
“I’m here to learn about your facility,” she told a group of officials at the centre, adding that she wanted to offer “help to these children to reunite with their families as quickly as possible”.
During her time at the facility, the FLOTUS met with doctors, social workers and those providing medical and educational services to some of the 2,300 children split from their families on the US-Mexico border – just days after White House officials credited her with helping persuade the president to end his policy of family separation at the border.
However, Melania’s empathetic visit to the Mexican border was quickly overshadowed by the astonishing message emblazoned on the back of her coat.
As she boarded a plane at Andrews Air Force, photographers snapped dozens of photos of the FLOTUS in a khaki jacket with the words “I really don’t care do u?” scrawled across it.
Twitter was soon flooded with criticism for Melania, with Amnesty International’s US branch tweeting that they were “shook by the blatant lack of empathy” the first lady demonstrated when she chose to wear the jacket.
Others on social media, meanwhile, seemed divided as to whether the first lade had chosen the “tone deaf” jacket by accident, or had selected it to send a not-so-hidden message.
Melania wearing an 'I don't care' jacket to the border has got to be the world's most tone deaf move since Marie Antoinette.— Robb Royer (@TXFartingsworth) June 21, 2018
Let's get one thing straight: Melania Trump did not accidentally wear a $30 jacket she just happened to have around with all her other very expensive designer clothes on this trip.— Denizcan Grimes (@MrFilmkritik) June 21, 2018
This was intentional.
The FLOTUS’ official spokesperson, Stephanie Grisham, has since lambasted US media on Twitter for focusing on her fashion choices.
“It’s a jacket,” she told CNN.
“There was no hidden message. After today’s important visit to Texas, I hope this isn’t what the media is going to choose to focus on.
NEW: @FLOTUS spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham when asked what message the first lady's jacket intends to send: "It's a jacket. There was no hidden message. After today's important visit to Texas, I hope this isn't what the media is going to choose to focus on."— Meridith McGraw (@meridithmcgraw) June 21, 2018
Essentially, Grisham has stated that the jacket didn’t mean anything and Melania really does care about migrant children.
Too bad, then, that President Donald Trump has also taken it upon himself to offer his own explanation.
“‘I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?’ written on the back of Melania’s jacket, refers to the Fake News Media,” he insisted on Twitter.
“Melania has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares!”
“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
It wasn’t long before Trump’s tweet had gone viral – with many using it as evidence that there had been some severe miscommunication between the POTUS and his wife.
Indeed, as White House correspondent Maggie Haberman pointed out: “So… the exact opposite of what her spokesperson said then? Gotcha.”
It remains unclear as to whether Melania was sending some sort of message to the media, as claimed by her husband, or whether this was indeed an ‘innocent’ wardrobe malfunction.
However, it’s worth noting that, as a former model with a keen understanding of her own image, Melania rarely makes an accidental fashion choice.
And, while she did not wear the controversial $39 jacket while visiting with the children, the FLOTUS did wear it upon her return to the capital… in full view of the news photographers who had gathered to capture her arrival.