Following a daylong backlash over a jacket she wore on her visit to the U.S.-Texas border, the first lady finally spoke up on Twitter on Thursday night. But Melania Trump's tweet about her border visit to see migrant children's did not address her controversial Zara jacket; instead, she put the focus on the migrant children that she met at the Upbring New Hope Children's Shelter in McAllen, Texas.
"Today's visit to
#Texas to spend time with children & thank the many hardworking individuals helping to care for them was very meaningful," Melania Trump tweeted on Thursday. "Thank you to @SecAzar @HHSGOV for traveling w me today & the care you are giving these children in such a difficult time."
Her tweet capped a day of discussion (and criticism) over the jacket she chose to wear while en route to Texas from Washington, D.C., and back. The jacket, which The Daily Mail first identified as a $39 olive green piece from Zara, had the following words emblazoned in a bold, white font at the back: "I REALLY DON'T CARE, DO U?"
Given the occasion (the first lady was in Texas to visit a detention facility housing migrant children), many people ripped into her sartorial decision as tone-deaf. Some interpreted it as her expressing her true feelings about the family separations that her husband's administration enacted. Others saw it as a possible message to the media.
In a statement to Bustle, Trump's spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, said: "It's a jacket. There was no hidden message. After today's important visit to Texas, I hope the media isn't going to choose to focus on her wardrobe. (Much like her high heels last year.)"
Critics have said that Trump's choice to wear that Zara jacket largely overshadowed her visit, which her office claimed was planned before Donald Trump signed his executive order to undo the family separation practice his administration put in place.
During her trip to Texas, the first lady met with officials at the shelter. According to NBC, she said during her visit, "I'm here to learn about [the] facility to which I know you housed children on a long-term basis. And I also like to ask you how I can help to these children reunite with their families as quickly as possible."
It came as a surprise on Thursday morning, as Melania Trump did not publicly announce that she was heading to prior to the Upbring New Hope Children's Shelter prior to her visit.
The backlash to the statement on Trump's jacket was swift. Though her spokeswoman later stressed that "#SheCares" in a tweet defending the first lady, President Donald Trump, in a characteristically unpredictable turnaround, contradicted Grisham, tweeting:
“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!
The Trump administration's practice of separating families has led to widespread outrage over the past few weeks. According to the president, both Melania Trump and his daughter Ivanka Trump have urged him to put an end to it.
On Wednesday, Donald Trump signed an executive order meant to detain migrant families together if they are caught crossing the border illegally, but critics say there may be loopholes that allow officials to continue separating families regardless.
The first lady's visit had reportedly been planned prior to her husband's decision to sign an executive order. Grisham told CNN on Thursday that traveling to McAllen was "100 percent" Melania Trump's idea.
"She will continue to update her husband," Grisham added, about the situation. "As with many topics she will continue to give her husband her opinions."