“I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” If any one sentence sums up the sentiments of the Trump administration on its immigrant family separation policy so far, it’s this one.
The always-enigmatic first lady Melania Trump had those exact words scribbled on the back of her khaki green jacket as she—wait for it—boarded a plane to visit a shelter for immigrant children at the Texas-Mexico border.
Even beyond the weirdness of a millionaire ex-model donning a $39 Zara jacket, the choice seemed particularly inappropriate considering the flood of news coming out about her husband’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy and its effect on families at the border.
After leaving Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, Trump ditched the jacket for a different one before landing in McAllen, Texas. But to many, the damage was already done.
Some Twitter users drew comparisons between the coverage of the Obamas’ wardrobe choices and Trump’s fashion faux-pas. Others expressed pure outrage.
Here's why the "I really don't care" jacket worn by Melania Trump matters.— Adam Best (@adamcbest) June 21, 2018
Michelle's sleeveless dress caused outrage.
Barack caught hell for a tan suit.
If either Obama went to a humanitarian crisis with messaging like this, right-wing America would've hammered them forever. pic.twitter.com/EsuzxoC4JE
Michelle Obama wears a sleeveless top— Mike Dewey (@MikeJDewey) June 21, 2018
Michelle Obama wants kids to eat vegetables and drink water
GOP: HOW DARE SHE!
Melania Trump poses nude for photos
GOP: WHAT A CLASSY FLOTUS!
Melania Trump wears jacket signaling she doesnt care about baby jails
Melania's "Let Them Eat Cake" jacket was at the cleaners.— Bob Cesca (@bobcesca_go) June 21, 2018
Let’s go ahead and never feel bad for Melania Trump again.— Pat Cunnane (@PatCunnane) June 21, 2018
That last ounce of pull Melania Trump had to appear like the voice of reason or compassion just left the building…wearing a $39 jacket from ZARA.— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) June 21, 2018
President Donald Trump insisted the jacket was a stab at ‘Fake News Media.’
“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
Melania Trump’s spokesperson, Stephanie Grisham, defended the first lady’s outfit and tried to steer the focus onto Trump’s concern for the families.
“It’s a jacket. There was no hidden message,” Grisham said, according to CNN. “After today’s important visit to Texas, I hope the media isn’t going to choose to focus on her wardrobe.”
She also maintained that it was the first lady’s idea to visit the Upbring New Hope Children’s Shelter.
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
Despite Grisham’s attempt to recenter the conversation, photos of the jacket rapidly spread across social media. Upworthy writer Parker Molloy mocked Trump with a series of photoshopped images that memed the outfit and made reference to several other scandals before ending with a call for political action.
Many users created their own versions of the meme, most of them trying to bring attention to other issues.
Still can't believe what Melania wore today pic.twitter.com/98gvcMnXis— TechnicallyRon (@TechnicallyRon) June 21, 2018
Made a new coat for Melania Trump. Hope she wears it. pic.twitter.com/AsJgo0Bavc— Sarah Wood (@sarahwoodwriter) June 21, 2018
hey @FLOTUS I made something that's just your style pic.twitter.com/SbphgXZ4RY— Nicole Silverberg (@nsilverberg) June 21, 2018
Whatever her intentions were with the jacket, it’s clear that Trump has to learn that all of her actions have consequences—even if she doesn’t care.