NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - First lady Melania Trump traveled to the southern U.S. border on Thursday to show she cares about migrant children. Her wardrobe choice literally said otherwise. The words "I really don't care, do u?" were written in giant white letters on her Army green jacket.
The $40 coat from Zara drew harsh judgment, including from the front page of the Daily News. Political analyst David Birdsell said that judgment was justifiable.
"Melania Trump, who of course has been a model in her past, knows very well how much attention the press pays to her as one of the most-photographed people in the world," Birdsell said. "If she has a legible message on her clothing, people will scrutinize that message."
He said the same would be true for any first lady, especially one headed to a child detention center.
"It's not plausible that she was unaware that this jacket would draw the kind of attention that it did," Birdsell said. "That the statement would be so jarring at precisely the point that she's trying to presumably demonstrate that she does care."
On the ground in Texas, the first lady, without the jacket, expressed her desire for migrant children to be treated humanely.
Her communications director insisted there was no hidden message, tweeting the hashtags "#SheCares #ItsJustAJacket."
The president later contradicting that, saying the words were directed at the media that he claims is dishonest and that she "truly no longer cares!"
Iona College political science professor Jeanne Zaino said the fashion choice leaves people wondering, "was this done on purpose to start a conversation or was it truly done just because she likes the jacket and leave her alone?"
Birdsell said that another answer is possible.
"An effort to try to distract from the circumstances of the case—the horrifying abuse of children on the border, where children have been shipped away from their parents," Birdsell said, "and instead to try and focus what is deemed to be or at least what the president is trying to frame as an unfair media attack on a family member."