WASHINGTON: Melania Trump surprised the world by visiting child migrants on the US-Mexico border on Thursday — but it was her choice of clothing for the trip that stunned the internet: a jacket emblazoned with the words "I really don't care, do you?"
A tone-deaf sartorial decision — or a hidden message from the first lady? And if so, to whom?
The images of Melania Trump sporting the olive green khaki jacket as she boarded a flight to Texas — which immediately went viral — surfaced as the White House struggles to calm international anger over the practice of splitting migrant children from their parents.
Asked about the military-style jacket with large white brush-style lettering — apparently sold for $39 at Zara, according to Daily Mail which first spotted the odd choice of outfit — the first lady's spokesperson Stephanie Grisham said "there was no hidden message."
Melania Trump makes surprise visit to US-Mexico border
"It's a jacket," Grisham said. "After today's important visit to Texas, I hope the media isn't going to choose to focus on her wardrobe."
"#SheCares #ItsJustAJacket" Grisham tweeted later on, as speculation swirled online.
By the time she arrived in McAllen, Texas the first lady had changed out of the controversial garment into a cream button-up safari-style jacket.
Melania Trump's unannounced trip to a youth shelter for migrants and a border patrol processing centre came one day after President Donald Trump made a sudden decision to end the practice of splitting immigrant families that has left more than 2,300 minors separate from their parents or guardians.
Melania Trump 'hates to see children separated from their families'
Images and recordings of distressed children held in enclosures akin to cages have sparked global fury.
The first lady herself called for political compromise to end the stripping of children from their parents — the result of the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy against illegal border crossings, in effect since May.
It was not the first time Melania Trump raised eyebrows for her fashion choices when out in the field: last year she wore needle-thin high stiletto heels to observe the devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey.
Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
For more information, please see our Comments FAQ