Stephen Colbert has weighed in on the now-infamous coat Melania Trump wore to visit the border. The first lady's spokesperson vigorously defended her fashion choice on Thursday, but Colbert's response to Melania's "I really don't care" jacket took down all of those justifications.
The first lady took a surprise trip to the border on Thursday to see the family separation crisis firsthand. Some critics on the left accused her of engaging in a PR stunt — but if her visit was at all meant to make the Trump administration look better in the midst of political backlash, she hurt her own agenda by wearing a jacket that read, "I REALLY DON'T CARE, DO U?"
"Before we show you this photo," Colbert said as he began the segment, "please know: It's real. We checked it so many times because we thought, 'This has to be fake.' But today, on her way to show that she cares, Melania wore a jacket that says, 'I REALLY DON'T CARE, DO U?'"
He mentioned a response from the first lady's spokesperson, who said in a statement on Thursday, "It's a jacket. There was no hidden message."
"Right. It's definitely not hidden. It's right on the back," Colbert joked. Referencing the speech Trump gave at the 2016 Republican National Convention, some of which seemed to be plagiarized from a Michelle Obama address, he added: "And I'm going to guess this is one message she did not steal from Michelle Obama."
"That's what they settled on?" Colbert asked, referring again to the coat. "What was her first choice, a jacket that says 'Womp, Womp'?" On Tuesday, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski said "womp, womp" on live television when confronted with the story of a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome being taken from her mother.
"When I heard that she was doing this," Colbert said, "I thought, 'OK, this is what first ladies often do. You go to a troubled area, they see the children, they show that we care. You can't mess that up.'"
Trump received a surge of backlash after images of her coat went viral on Thursday. It wasn't the only time that critics have called the first lady's fashion choices insensitive: Last summer, she was criticized for wearing high heels on her way to visit Texas after it was hit by Hurricane Harvey. Like this jacket, many argued that her shoes symbolized a detachment from struggles she was purporting to address.
Trump's spokesperson acknowledged the connection in her statement. "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)," she said.
President Donald Trump also defended his wife's jacket choice, though he took a different route than the spokesperson. According to him, there was a hidden message in the jacket — but it wasn't referring to the kids who have been separated from their parents. It was meant to troll the mainstream media.
"'I REALLY DON'T CARE, DO U?' written on the back of Melania's jacket, refers to the Fake News Media," he tweeted on Thursday. "Melania has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares!"
"Now, I'm sincerely curious here," Colbert said in closing his segment. "How many people would get fired for this at a normal White House? One? Five? The entire executive branch? Because in the middle of the worst moral scandal in recent memory, so bad that her husband backed down for the first time in memory, people who were supposedly on her side let her get on a plane with a jacket that said, 'I REALLY DON'T CARE, DO U?'"
"For the record: We do," he finished.