Melania Trump came out of hiding just in time to see her approval ratings sink.
The first lady has regularly scored higher approval numbers than her much-divisive husband, but Melania’s own numbers took a dive this month after she spent nearly a month away from the public eye after undergoing surgery to treat what was described as a benign kidney condition. As CNN noted, Melania’s approval fell to 51 percent this month, a drop from the 57 percent approval she enjoyed in May. Her disapproval rating climbed as well, reaching 29 percent after sitting at 27 percent last month.
And these numbers came before Melania Trump’s controversial statement this week, wearing a jacket with the words “I Really Don’t Care, Do U?” while making a trip to visit a child immigrant detention center.
The statement drew widespread criticism and rumors that Melania was using the jacket to make a statement against her husband. According to a report from Hollywood Life, the first lady was rebelling against being used as a publicity ploy amid Donald Trump’s own policy that separated children from their parents.
Though the report was based on anonymous sources and was not verified beyond the celebrity gossip outlet, it added to the growing rumors that Melania is not happy in the White House.
The “I Really Don’t Care” statement has also energized the opponents of Donald Trump, with many wearing their responses. This includes 15-year-old actress Jenna Ortega, who wore a jacket to the Radio Disney Music Awards that read “I Do Care And U Should Too.” Ortega has been a vocal activist when it comes to immigration and embracing all cultures.
“It’s important to embrace your culture today because there are so many different ethnicities in America,” Ortega told Teen Vogue. “At the end of the day, you are you. You’ve got to stay true to yourself, and you can’t change yourself in order to fit in or to make someone else feel comfortable.”
Other Democratic groups have made mock versions of the jacket encouraging others to vote out Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections.
It’s not clear what effect Melania Trump’s jacket could have on her approval ratings, or whether the high numbers in May were the result of some special circumstances. As The Hill noted, Melania launched her signature “Be Best” initiative just before leaving the public eye in May, and she also hosted a state dinner. These public events helped Melania’s approval ratings tick upward, climbing from the 47 percent who said, in January, that they had a favorable view of the first lady.