Just three days after First Lady Melania Trump made waves for wearing that “I Really Don’t Care. Do U?” jacket to an immigrant children’s detention center in Texas, she stepped out to address a topic her husband's administration is criticized for lacking: kindness.
On Sunday, Melania made a surprise visit to a Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) event in Tyson's Corner, Virginia, where the theme of the night was "Be the Change"—one that resonates with the organization's goal of preventing young people from making "harmful" choices.
For this occasion, Melania didn’t literally wear a message on her sleeve.
Instead of Zara, the First Lady arrived in an ensemble that fits the bill we've grown to expect: Her look was polished, subtle, and luxe. She wore a crisp white shirt with a collar popped in an aristocratic fashion, and styled it with a high-waisted pencil skirt and white Christian Louboutin stiletto heels.
"Kindness, compassion, and positivity are very important traits in life," she said to the crowd of students in a speech that clocked in just under 3 minutes in length. "It is far easier to say nothing than it is to speak words of kindness. It is easier to judge quickly than to take time to understand. It is often easier to see a glass half-empty than half full."
She continued, "You have the power to be the positive force in so many people's lives. Show respect to each other. Treat your community like your family, and look out for one another."
Warning others about the perils of "saying nothing" is an odd choice for Melania, who has been criticized for staying quiet in the past. (She did, however, speak up about family separation, though she did not condemn her husband's administration's role in the matter, as the other four living former First Ladies did.) Her encouragement of "respect" is also a bit ironic, given her husband's reputation of being anything but.
In case you missed the details from her most recent fashion scandal, Melania received backlash for wearing an “I Really Don’t Care” jacket during a recent PR trip to McAllen, Texas, where she visited a child immigrant detention center. FLOTUS sparked a media and Twitter firestorm for the jacket, with many suggesting that it implied that she was apathetic to the immigration crisis affecting the U.S.
After photos of the look were published, her communications director, Stephanie Grisham, quickly came to her defense on Twitter, placing the blame on the media’s speculation.
President Trump also had something to say, confirming that her decision to wear the jacket was no mistake. “'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!” he tweeted.
The fashion brand Wildfang responded immediately to the incident by creating their own jacket that reads, “I Really Care. Don't U?” on the back. One hundred percent of proceeds from sales benefit RAICES, an organization working give legal aid to separated families so that they might be reunited.
Trump ended family-separation via Executive Order on Wednesday; however, families will still be detained in detention centers—albeit, as a unit. On Friday, Trump implored Republicans to “stop wasting their time” trying to parse out a bipartisan immigration bill that could end the practice of detaining migrants, and instead suggested they wait until the November elections, which he predicts will see a "Red Wave" of new Republican senators.
At an event on Friday, Trump compared what families whose relatives have been killed by undocumented immigrants experience to the separations at the U.S. border. “These are the American citizens permanently separated from their loved ones, the word ‘permanently’ being the one you have to think about,” he said. “They’re not separated for a day or two days. They’re permanently separated.”
Even if the administration continues to fail to help the thousands of children removed from their families, there are still ways to do so.