On Monday, the White House released First Lady Melania Trump's official portrait, as well as her biography — and, as one could anticipate, the public had a lot to say about it. A lot of the initial reaction to FLOTUS' headshot had to do with the apparent retouching or filtering that went into the photograph. One part of the image that was impervious to the soft glow, however, was the 25-carat diamond ring on her left hand, which President Donald J. Trump gave to her as a gift on their 10th wedding anniversary back in 2014. (Her original 12-carat diamond engagement ring, from 2004, reportedly cost him $1.5 million.) The glimmer of that high carat count certainly came across in the headshot — and it's eliciting a fervent response on social media.
On the one hand, some pointed out the irony in having such an overt display of wealth in an official White House portrait, in light of the current administration's efforts to speak and appeal to the working class during the campaign. (Some users noted how the cost of FLOTUS' ring could help pay for some of the programs President Trump's proposed budget would cut, like Meals on Wheels.)
Others, meanwhile, were quick to note the differences between this portrait of Mrs. Trump and that of her predecessor — as well as some of the criticisms directed at Hillary Clinton (and the cost of her designer pantsuits) throughout the presidential election.
Women in politics have historically received more flack for the cost of their clothing than their male counterparts — we saw that with Clinton (when she was First Lady, a senator, Secretary of State, and a presidential candidate), with Michelle Obama (despite her penchant for J.Crew and more affordable brands), and certainly now with Trump. Still, the optics of wearing such a glaringly expensive item in an official White House portrait at a time when many public programs are at risk — and could be saved for the same price tag as that very item — are not great, to say the least.