A week after Melania Trump mystified the country by stepping out in a green Zara jacket with the words “I Really Don’t Care, Do U” emblazoned on the back en route to a visit to a migrant children’s shelter, the first lady is attempting a similar trip — in a different ensemble and with a clearer message.
“She cares about children deeply,” her communications director, Stephanie Grisham, told reporters traveling with Mrs. Trump. “She’s advocating for quality care for these children under difficult circumstances.”
On Thursday, the first lady wore white pants, an unadorned black top and white sneakers for her visit to a Customs and Border Patrol facility in Tucson, Arizona, where she had a roundtable discussion with Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the U.S. Marshals Service and a local rancher, according to pool reports. She said the purpose of the meeting was to hear from people on the front lines at the border.
But as her motorcade pulled into the facility, Mrs. Trump was met by several dozen protesters holding a large, inflatable depiction of President Trump in a Ku Klux Klan robe. Some signs included obscenities and one read, “End All Cages. Free the Parents and Children.”
During the roundtable, Mrs. Trump said she had been to a similar facility in Texas. “I want to support you, and let me know what I can do to help,” she said.
Later on Thursday, the first lady toured the Tucson Coordinating Center, a short-term holding facility, before going on a closed-press tour of an intelligence center.
Grisham said the visit was planned shortly after the first lady returned from Texas last week, where she was unable to visit a Department of Homeland Security Facility because of flooding.
The legal situation for immigrant children has also changed, Grisham said, and the first lady is “anxious to learn how they’re implementing the new process.”
“This is a complex issue. She recognizes that. She’s learning that these people at HHS facilities are providing some outstanding care under difficult circumstances,” Grisham added. “She’s advocating for quality care for these children under difficult circumstances.”
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Grisham said the first lady continues to discuss the migrant children crisis with her husband, who encouraged his wife to take the trip.
Last Thursday, Mrs. Trump wore the $39 Zara jacket as she boarded a plane to Texas to visit with migrant children separated from their parents in McAllen, Texas. Although she did not wear the jacket while visiting with the kids, she did wear it again to fly back to D.C. following her tour — even after it was criticized.
Mrs. Trump toured two facilities run by the Department of Homeland Security during her trip to McAllen: the Ursula Border Patrol Processing Center, a Customs and Border Patrol intake center, and Upbring New Hope Children’s Shelter, a Health and Human Services grantee facility that currently houses about 60 kids (ages 5-17, though mostly teens) from Honduras and El Salvador.
Her choice of outerwear stunned and confused the internet, with many calling her decision to wear the jacket “tone deaf.”
Her husband and spokeswoman further muddied the waters, with conflicting messages about the jacket.
While President Trump said she wore the jacket to protest the “fake news” media, her spokeswoman claimed there was no hidden meaning behind it.
“‘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 president tweeted last week.
However, Melania’s communications director 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),” Grisham added.
The first lady, meanwhile, did not directly address the kerfuffle, but did tweet about the initial visit afterwards.
“Visiting w children at the shelter in #Texas yesterday was very touching,” she wrote. “Despite the difficult circumstances children were in good spirits & very kind. It’s my sincere hope Congress will be able to reach across the aisle & find a solution!”