On Thursday afternoon, first lady Melania Trump flew to McAllen. Ostensibly, she made the trip to show concern for children forcibly separated from their parents under the “zero tolerance” policy put in place by her husband’s administration, but her sartorial choice suggested the opposite: As first reported by the Daily Mail and documented in a photo by the Associated Press, the first lady boarded the plane to Texas wearing a jacket emblazoned with the phrase “I Really Don’t Care. Do U?”
In the midst of the turmoil for immigrant families, Melania spent Thursday visiting the Upbring New Hope Children’s Shelter in McAllen, a facility that houses around sixty children. “I’m here to learn about your facility to which I know you housed children on a long term basis. And I’d also like to ask you how I can help to these children reunite with their families as quickly as possible,” she told shelter workers. According to her spokesperson, the jacket was merely an unfortunate coincidence.
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
The first lady is well known for her carefully thought through fashion statements. Two days after the release of an Access Hollywood tape revealing that her husband, then a presidential candidate, told Billy Bush that his fame enabled him to grab women “by the pussy,” Melania wore a pussy-bow blouse to the presidential debate. At the State of the Union, she wore a white pantsuit, a signature look of Trump’s previous rival Hillary Clinton, who frequently wore the outfit as an homage to the suffragettes.
Melania is an immigrant to the U.S. herself. In 2001 the Slovenian native received a green card through the EB-1 program, also known as an “Einstein” visa, granted to those with extraordinary abilities, like internationally renowned academics and musicians. (Melania received hers for modeling.) After she later received citizenship, Melania sponsored the legal residency of her parents. Her husband, president Donald Trump, has voiced opposition to “chain migration,” or the sponsorship of relatives which allowed his in-laws to legally reside in the U.S.
Trump’s views against family-sponsored immigration is part of his larger stance to limit immigration, which also includes the “zero tolerance” policy, which has separated over two thousand children from their parents over the past three months. On Wednesday, after uproar and protest across the nation, President Trump issued an executive order ending his administration’s policy of separating children and parents, blaming Democrats in Congress for thwarting his attempts at immigration reform.
Trump’s executive order has not provided clarity for the thousands of parents and children forcibly separated from each other and held in noncommunicating federal departments. Nor has the president offered answers about how—and for how long—families will be detained together going forward.
Melania Trump’s outfit may have only been thoughtless. But when it comes to the lives and well-being of thousands of children, thoughtlessness is the problem.