Melania Trump doesn’t say much.
The office of the first lady is a big platform, one that has been used over the years by various first ladies to advocate for such worthy causes as early childhood education reform (Laura Bush), improving healthcare (Hillary Clinton), and supporting veterans (Michelle Obama). In May, Melania Trump formally announced her cause would be, among several causes, anti-bullying. The irony of FLOTUS taking up this cause, when her husband essentially ran on a campaign of bullying and continues to use the office to bully, was lost on no one.
But mostly, Melania stays silent. So we’re left to interpret meaning from her facial expressions (she rarely smiles) and her clothes (they’re often high-end European designers). And then there’s this: Today when Melania Trump made a rare official trip to visit immigrant children at the Texas border, she boarded the plane at Maryland’s Andrews Air Force Base wearing a military-inspired jacket from Zara with the words “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” scrawled on the back.
The optics are almost inconceivable, that the First Lady would go visit the immigrant children who have been forcibly separated from their parents by her husband’s policies, wearing a garment that literally spells out, I DONT CARE. But there it is. Nothing could be clearer. (Photographed at the Upbring New Hope Children Center in McAllen, Texas, it appeared the First Lady had taken the jacket off on the plane.)
Trump’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, has attempted to dismiss it. “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,” Grisham told ABC White House reporter Meredith McGraw. Yes, I am choosing to focus on this.
What a person chooses to put on says a lot about what they want to convey to the world. Clothes take on even more loaded meaning when you are an international figure, like the First Lady. And they take on even more meaning still when there aren’t many other statements being made. It’s not “just a jacket,” as Grisham would like us all to believe. It’s a crystal clear statement on this administration’s utter lack of humanity and decency. It’s a reflection of who she and her husband truly are.