After a public uproar over family separations at the border, first lady Melania Trump boarded a plane to visit to a detention facility in McAllen, TX. On the plane ride there, Melania — who has faced criticism for not doing enough with her platform dedicated to helping children — donned a jacket with the words "I REALLY DON'T CARE, DO U?" emblazoned on the back.
According to Melania's communications director, Stephanie Grisham, FLOTUS' decision to wear the $39 Zara jacket has no meaning. "It's a jacket. There was no hidden message," said in a statement.
In an unsurprising turn of events, Melania's husband, President Donald Trump, weighed in, saying the not-sending-a-hidden-message jacket was actually sending a message to the news media.
“I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” written on the back of Melania’s jacket, refers to the Fake News Media. Melania has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 21, 2018
"She wants to see what's real," Grisham told CNN during a press briefing of her reason for visiting the facility. "She wanted to see as close to what she had been seeing on TV. She wants to see a realistic view of what's happening." Grisham said Melania has seen the images and audio of children in detention centres and was concerned about them. "The images struck her, as a mother, as a human being."
Melania changed into a different outfit before heading to meet the children.
Melania's visit comes right after President Trump signed an executive order to end the much-maligned family separations. The administration had previously insisted it's up to Congress to stop the practice.
"Her goals are to thank law enforcement and social services providers for their hard work, lend support and hear more on how the administration can build upon the already existing efforts to reunite children with their families," said Grisham.
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
Grisham said Melania wanted to take the trip before Trump ever signed the executive order. "She wants to see what’s happening for herself and she wants to lend her support, executive order or not. The executive order certainly is helping pave the way a little bit, but there’s still a lot to be done."
Melania visited Upbring New Hope Children’s Shelter, part of Lutheran Social Services, a Health and Human Services facility that houses 60 kids ages five to 17. She was traveling with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. The kids are reportedly in the facility an average of 58 days. After leaving, they get placed with their parents about half the time, while 40% are placed with another relative in the U.S. and 10% go to foster care, family friends, or volunteer sponsors.
During the visit to the HHS facility, Melania visited classrooms and interacted with children. According to the White House, most of the children in the shelter are from Guatemala and all but six are unaccompanied minors. She shook hands, and asked the kids where they are from, as well as questions like, "Are you all friends?" She also said, "Be kind and nice to each other, OK? Nice to meet you."