First Lady Melania Trump‘s controversial fashion choices — from her pussy-bow blouse to her “I really don’t care” jacket — were actually “style rebellions” intended to “punish her husband,” former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman alleges in her new book.
In Unhinged, due out Tuesday, Manigault Newman specifically claims that the first lady was trying to make President Trump “look foolish” when she wore a Zara jacket emblazoned with the words “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” on her way to visit separated children at an immigration facility in Texas.
“It’s my opinion that Melania was forced to go to the border that day in June, essentially, to mop up her husband’s mess,” Manigault Newman writes in an excerpt obtained exclusively by the Daily Mail.
“She wore that jacket to hurt Trump, setting off a controversy that he would have to fix, prolonging the conversation about the administration’s insensitivity, ruining the trip itself, and trying to make sure that no one asked her to do something like that again.
“Not that Melania doesn’t have compassion for immigrant children; I’m sure she does,” Manigault Newman adds. “But she gladly, spitefully, wrecked her husband’s directives to make him look foolish.”
Manigault Newman did not present any proof of her theories about Mrs. Trump.
Asked about the claims, the first lady’s spokesperson, Stephanie Grisham, said in a statement to PEOPLE: “Mrs. Trump rarely, if ever, interacted with Omarosa. It’s disappointing to her that she is lashing out and retaliating in such a self-serving way, especially after all the opportunities given to her by the president.”
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The first lady faced heavy criticism in June when she donned a jacket that read “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” as she departed to visit migrant children separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border as a result of her husband’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy. Despite the instant backlash, Mrs. Trump put the jacket back on for her return flight to Washington, D.C.
In the aftermath of Mrs. Trump’s “jacketgate” moment, the president claimed that his wife’s fashion choice was a message to the “Fake News Media.” He tweeted at the time, “Melania has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares!”
However, Grisham contradicted the president’s explanation. “It’s a jacket. There was no hidden message,” Grisham said in a statement in June. “After today’s important visit to Texas, I hope the media isn’t going to choose to focus on her wardrobe.” Grisham also said at the time that the trip was “100 percent” Mrs. Trump’s idea and that her husband was “supportive.”
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In Unhinged, Manigault Newman goes on to claim that the first lady has been making such “style rebellions” since her husband’s campaign days.
“As a student of fashion and keenly image-conscious woman, she knows that everyone of her style choices will be scrutinized and debated,” Manigault Newman writes.
“Why did she wear a Gucci ‘pussy bow’ pink blouse to the presidential debate immediately after the Access Hollywood bombshell? Did she purposefully wear a Hillary Clinton-esque white pantsuit to Trump’s first State of the Union address? Did she mean to come off as out of touch and tone-dead by wearing snakeskin stiletto heels to hurricane-ravaged Texas? The messages behind her style choices aren’t always clear, but they are never accidental.
“Taken as a whole, all of her style rebellions have served the same purpose, and not only misdirection and distraction — strategies her husband knows all too well,” Manigault Newman added. “I believe Melania uses style to punish her husband.”