Melania Trump made an unannounced visit on Thursday to a facility where immigrant children are being held, but it was the first lady’s choice of attire that’s getting most of the attention.
In the wake of the recently reversed policy to separate immigrant children from their parents after crossing the U.S. border, Melania Trump had tried to maintain a neutral stance, issuing a statement calling for an end to the policy and blaming both sides. But she waded into controversy on Thursday when she wore a jacket with the words “I REALLY DON’T CARE” while making a visit to a facility where immigrant children are being held, the New York Post reported.
The Daily Mail was the first to notice Melania Trump’s $39 jacket, which Melania wore en route to the detention facility in McAllen, Texas. The jacket drew immediate controversy, especially amid accusations that Donald Trump was using the detention of children as a bargaining chip to get funding for his border wall. Many had taken aim at both Melania and Ivanka Trump for professing to care about issues affecting families — and in Melania’s case, an entire initiative aimed at promoting wellness of children — but doing nothing to stop the alleged destructive policy.
Wait, wait, wait. I just got wifi to work on my flight. This Melania jacket thing cannot be real. Can't. I'm choosing to not believe it.
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) June 21, 2018
Melania Trump’s spokesperson fired back at critics on Thursday, saying there was no hidden meaning to the jacket she wore on her way to visit immigrant children in the detention center.
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
Melania Trump had already come under fire for a meeting with the Queen of Spain and a tweet afterward where the first lady said the two discussed ways to positively affect the lives of children. This came as Donald Trump and his administration were still vehemently defending the practice of separating immigrant children from their parents.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) June 19, 2018
Critics said Melania had plenty of power to call for an end to the policy, and reports indicate that Trump’s family members did play a role in bringing it to an end. Donald Trump said that Ivanka Trump showed him pictures of children being held alone in these detention centers, prompting him to reverse course on the policy.
At her tour of the detention center on Thursday, Melania Trump reportedly asked what officials could do to reunite children with their parents as quickly as possible, but NyMag reported that this will not be an easy process. The haphazard way the program was implemented led to confusion across departments, the report noted, making it difficult to connect children with their parents amid widespread confusion.