The first lady could just be celebrating the arrival of spring or rocking a French fashion label. But the internet has another explanation for Melania Trump's outfit from Tuesday morning when she welcomed the French president to the White House: Trump is channeling Olivia Pope with the white hat and power suit. Twitter — and the Scandal costume designer herself — couldn't stop making the comparison.
"Is Melania wearing the white hat?? She is certainly wearing Olivia's jacket....I see #Scandal everywhere," Lyn Paolo, a costume designer for the hit ABC TV show posted on Twitter, with the hashtag #gladiators, as Pope's band of lawyers, fixers, and spies are known.
The white hat is a signature look of Pope, the lead character played by Kerry Washington. And "wearing the white hat" is a euphemism on the show for doing the right thing.
Washington's character runs Olivia Pope & Associates, a crisis management firm, that only takes on clients who are on the right side of a scandal ethically — even though Pope herself has a sordid affair with the (fictional) president, covers up murders, and generally makes questionable decisions.
The show's costume designer was not alone in the observation. Twitter user Marnie Mueller posted, "Melania's white hat is even bigger than Olivia Pope's. A message?" And coupled with several emojis, Evan Bell wrote, "Ok Melania I see you with the white hat. It seems we’ve all learned from Olivia Pope."
There's no word yet on whether this means that Trump has donned the white hat in the Scandal sense. The gladiators on Shonda Rhimes' Scandal have been fighting to save American democracy season after season — but they've never been very good at it.
Saving democracy as we know it might be a tall order for any first lady, but what Trump has committed to is the state dinner. She has taken charge of the direction and has put her personal touch on everything, from the menu to the size of the gathering to the china that will be used. She even posted updates on the last-minute preparations, like inspecting the floral arrangements.
Trump's communications director, Stephanie Grisham, explained why the first lady has taken such care. "She has been very focused on the experience of the guests, and wants to ensure they are able to truly enjoy and remember the occasion," Grisham told CNN. "When you are invited to a dinner at the White House, it is very special to be able to sit in the State Dining Room. After all, this is the People's house, which is rich with history and tradition."
The all-white ensemble is her latest look opposite the French president Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte.
On Monday, Trump wore a black French cape to the tree planing ceremony. It was designed by Givenchy, a top French design firm — perhaps as a gesture to the foreign guests. Underneath was a not-so-French black Dolce & Gabbana cocktail dress, and a satin cummerbund by Ralph Lauren. She paired the look with a Christian Dior crocodile clutch and black Christian Louboutin stilettos.
Despite being high fashion, Tuesday's look was not actually French. Rather, the first lady donned a $2,195 Michael Kors Collection "belted asymmetric crepe blazer and skirt suit." The wide-brimmed hat is also from the Michael Kors Collection — not the set of Scandal. The first lady was at the traditional state arrival ceremony on the South Lawn, where some 500 members of the United States Armed Forces greeted the Macrons.
Trump's next outfit will serve as dinner attire Tuesday evening, but it is not being announced until later in the day.