As Hurricane Harvey continues to wreck havoc in the south, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump traveled to Texas on Tuesday in order to see up close the damage that Harvey has inflicted and work to provide relief. However, before the pair even got to Texas, a scandal was popping up on Twitter. People were not happy that Melania wore stilettos on her trip to Texas.
Melania boarded her flight to Texas wearing aviator sunglasses, a green bomber jacket, a black shirt, black skinny pants, and black stilettos. And the reaction of Twitter was swift and biting. One user wrote "And here we have Melania Trump modeling what NOT to wear to a hurricane: 5-inch stilettos. How out of touch can you be?" Another commented on the juxtaposition of the clothing choice and the purpose of the trip, saying, "What was your first clue that this Texas trip was to be nothing more than a fake, useless photo op? Was it Melania's six-inch spike heels?"
But of all the many things to criticize the Trump administration for, the first lady's choice of shoes is not one of them. Yes, you can argue that they are not the most practical shoes when going to an area that has experienced a Category 4 hurricane, but Melania is a grown woman and it is her decision in regards to how she wants to dress herself.
According to The Hill, Melania's communications director released a statement to CNN about the fuss over the shoes, saying, "It's sad that we have an active and ongoing natural disaster in Texas, and people are worried about her shoes."
Besides, as The Boston Globe pointed out, Melania changed into tennis shoes once they arrived in Corpus Christi, Texas. It appears that she just wore them to board Marine One and Air Force Once in D.C. before changing into more comfortable footwear to tackle the crisis on the ground in Texas.
Picking on Melania for her decision to wear stilettos is an easy dig, and honestly, we do not need any more frivolous jokes about the Trump administration when there are so many important issues at stake. The Internet's obsession with small mistakes and memes that come out of the Trump administration, like the time the president Tweeted "covfefe" or when he touched a glowing orb in Saudi Arabia, distract us from everything else that's going on.
While the Internet is talking about the first lady's shoes, the Trump administration is pushing the ongoing effort to repeal and replace Obamacare and rolling out the ban on transgender Americans from serving in the military. Trump is also busy preparing a tax overhaul that will likely cut taxes from corporations.
Focusing on Melania's shoes also takes away from the importance of the whole reason they're in the south: to look at disaster relief for a hurricane during which at least 10 deaths have already been reported. The whole point of Melania and Donald's trip is to decide how they can best offer assistance to an area of the country that is currently struggling. To point out Melania's shoes while the country is experiencing a serious disaster is petty at best and insensitive at worst.
A little comic relief is necessary every once in a while, but if we're too busy spending our time calling out the first lady for her choice of shoes, that's energy we're not putting toward paying attention to the needs of Texas.
First ladies' outfits have a history of being criticized — just look at the flack Michelle Obama got when she dared bare her arms — and none of it is helpful to the nation. When Melania and Donald visited the Pope earlier this year, the first lady's all-black outfit spurred insensitive jokes that she was hoping to become a widow. And Donald himself is not immune to criticism for his outfit choices. His too-long ties have long been the butt of Internet jokes.
Instead of taking to social media to talk about Melania's shoes, perhaps you can spend some of your time donating to relief efforts for Texans affected by Harvey, volunteer to take in pets at overcrowded animal shelters, or open up your home to those displaced by the storm.