A $5,000 metallic Carolina Herrera gown Ivanka Trump wore in Jan. 2017 has come under fire again from critics questioning her silence over her father's immigration policy

By Dave Quinn
June 19, 2018 02:06 PM
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A $5,000 metallic Carolina Herrera gown Ivanka Trump wore in Jan. 2017 has come under fire again from critics questioning the first daughter’s notable silence over her father’s “cruel” immigration policy.

As news spread over the weekend about President Trump’s family-separation policy, and the ways in which it is tearing apart families at the Mexico-U.S. border, images of Ivanka’s one-shoulder silver gown began circulating on social media — with many pointing out how similar it looked to the thermal blankets being used by migrant children inside a processing detention center run by the Department of Homeland Security.

“Who wore it better: Children detained in McAllen, Texas or Ivanka Trump,” one user wrote, posting side by side photos of the items in question.

The image quickly became a meme, with other users posting their own versions of the image along with scathing commentary.

It wasn’t the first time Ivanka’s been mocked for the gown, either.

The photo, which also featured her husband, Jared Kushner, was previously called into question when it was first posted on Jan. 29, 2017 — hours after her father put forward his controversial Muslim ban and suspended the U.S. refugee program.

“Honey, we’re late for the wrong side of history party,” comedian Mike Birbiglia wrote at the time.

Others posted splits of Ivanka and Syrian refugees wearing the same thermal blankets.

Ivanka Trump
| Credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

Ivanka —who also serves as a special advisor to the president — has yet to comment publicly about what many believe to be inhumane and unjust actions being taken by the president with his immigration policy.

But her step-mother, Melania Trump, did issue a surprising rebuke of the controversial policy when she released an uncharacteristic statement over the weekend.

“Mrs. Trump hates to see children separated from their families,” the first lady’s communications director, Stephanie Grisham, told PEOPLE on Sunday.

“[She] hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform,” Grisham said, adding that Mrs. Trump “believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart.”

Melania Trump
| Credit: MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

While some applauded the statement and interpreted it as a “brave stand” against President Trump’s family-separation policy, others criticized the first lady — an immigrant herself — for placing blame for the migrant crisis on “both sides,” rather than squarely on the Trump administration’s policy.

The Guardian argued that, on closer inspection, the first lady’s statement “effectively endorsed her husband’s false claim that Democrats are responsible for his administration’s practice of separating parents and children.”

In a briefing on Monday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders also cast the first couple as in sync on the issue. “What he said [on Friday] very closely mirrored what the first lady said. He hates seeing this,” she said. “He’s called on Congress … Democrats in Congress to work with him, let’s fix this problem.”

Asked if there was “any daylight between the president and the first lady” on the way the administration is enforcing immigration law, Sanders replied, “We’ve made it abundantly clear that the daylight exists between Democrats in Congress and their ability to change the law.”

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During an impromptu question-and-answer session in front of the White House on Friday, Trump told reporters, “I hate the children being taken away. The Democrats have to change their law — that’s their law.”

But, as The New York Times notes, there’s actually no law that says children must be taken away from their parents at the border. In fact, it was the Trump administration’s decision to prosecute asylum seekers who enter the U.S. at the border that has led to parents being sent into criminal custody and separated from their children.