Melania Trump's jacket might not be sending the best message. (Image via People)

Melania’s Tone-Deaf Jacket Has to Mean One of Two Things

She's either totally clueless, or it's something way worse.

June 25, 2018
4 mins read

Melania Trump made one of the most egregious fashion faux pas in recent history during the past weekend when she visited immigrant children in McAllen, Texas.

The first lady was photographed boarding a plane on her way to meet with the children, who were being detained after ICE separated them from their families, in a green army jacket from a previous Zara collection. On the back of the jacket, printed in bold white graffiti-style letters, was the phrase “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?”

Given the circumstances surrounding the first lady’s trip to Texas, the jacket seems to be in serious bad taste.

Although believing the notoriously stylish first lady would simply throw on a (relatively) cheap jacket without considering the implications is somewhat difficult to believe, her communications director, Stephanie Grisham, wants everyone to know the jacket is nothing more than an article of clothing.

“There was no hidden message,” Grisham said. Later, the communications director took to Twitter to defend her: “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”

President Trump, however, took a different stance — he claimed his wife’s jacket was definitely intended to send a message, if not the first one which comes to mind.

“‘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!” Trump said via Twitter.

With Grisham saying one thing and President Trump saying another, a communication issue seems to be present in the White House. Regardless of the first lady’s intentions for wearing the cynical jacket, the internet has gone off on the subject.

Several confused people have logged on to Twitter to vent their frustrations about the situation and to attempt to understand what is actually going on.

Make the Road New York, a group of young immigrant women, also responded to the situation, creating their own versions of the first lady’s attire. Their jackets, which are a bit more sensitive, feature sayings like “Kids belong in HOMES NOT CAGES” and “I CARE BECAUSE I’M UNDOCUMENTED.”

“She could have worn that jacket any other day,” said Make the Road New York member Jennifer to Cosmopolitan. “It was so frustrating to see and made me feel so angry, because instead, she chose to wear it on a day when she was going to see kids. She could have shared a positive message.”

Considering the first lady’s history of high-end fashion and expensive taste, the likelihood of the jacket being a thoughtless decision seems rather low. But the alternative possibility seems out of character for the first lady, who hasn’t previously been so blatantly insensitive to a majorly controversial political issue.

Either way, she should have just left the jacket at home.

Cameron Andersen, New York University

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Cameron Andersen

New York University
Cultural Anthropology and Gender & Sexuality

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