On her way to visit migrant children housed in a Texas shelter Thursday, First Lady Melania Trump wore a jacket with the phrase “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” scrawled across the back in white graffiti-styled text.
Boy, did social media users care.
Her spokesperson said there was no hidden message, but President Donald Trump declared on Twitter that indeed there was: the jacket was meant as a memo to the media.
The first lady was first photographed in the jacket — which the Daily Mail identified as a $39 jacket from fast fashion retailer Zara, though it appears to have previously sold out — boarding a plane in Maryland earlier Thursday. She was on her way to visit a shelter for migrant children, amid outrage over the Trump administration’s decision to separate thousands of children from their parents at the border. The practice was ended on Wednesday, but thousands of children have yet to be reunited with their parents.
The first lady did not wear the jacket once in Texas, but many criticized her choice of outerwear as insensitive.
One user set up a website — ireallydocare.com — which redirects to an immigrant charity donation page.
Others joked about what else her jacket could have said, with one user citing President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who was criticized for saying “womp womp” during an interview about a migrant child with Down Syndrome who was separated from her mother.
Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s director of communications, sought to calm the furor and blamed the media for stirring it up.
“It’s just a jacket. There’s no message. I hope we can talk about her important visit with children today rather than her wardrobe choice,” Grisham said, earning suspicion from some quarters that the wardrobe choice was purposefully designed to bait the media.
The first lady has so far crafted a very deliberate public image, and her fashion choices are often viewed as having meaning: When the French president visited the White House, she wore an instantly-iconic white hat designed by a French-born designer who has recently become an American citizen.
At least one Twitter user joked that the jacket would have been well received if it hadn’t appeared today.
Arriving back in Maryland, Mrs. Trump was captured on camera again. The jacket was back.