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This Jacket Caused A Racket: What, Exactly, Does Melania Trump Not Care About?

First lady Melania Trump leaves Joint Base Andrews in Maryland wearing a jacket with the words "I REALLY DON'T CARE. DO U?" after her visit Thursday with migrant children who are being detained at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Do you see a blue dress or a gold dress? Well, this time it's a green Zara jacket. And the color doesn't matter — it's what's written on the back in big white graffiti lettering: "I REALLY DON'T CARE, DO U?"

A teen who bought the $39 hooded rain jacket (which I could no longer find on the Zara website) in a fit of fashionable rebellion wouldn't raise an eyebrow. But the jacket was photographed being worn by first lady Melania Trump as she boarded a plane at Joint Base Andrews on her way to McAllen, Texas, to visit a detention center holding immigrant children separated from their parents. By the time she had landed, she had taken off the jacket. Then, she put it back on when she returned to Andrews ... and she wore it as she walked back into the White House.

It was an odd choice for Trump — she isn't often seen wearing a $39 anything, and she rarely wears outfits not carefully thought out. That's where the blue dress/gold dress interpretations begin (though there's no scientific explanation for this).

What did it mean? Zara did not respond to an email asking to explain its inspiration for the jacket. Not that that matters anymore.

Melania Trump's communications director, Stephanie Grisham, said in a statement, "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."

She's right — it wasn't a hidden message; it was right there on her back. It was clearly an intentional choice, even if its effect may not have been intentional. So, whom was it for?

Some thought the White House actually wanted the media to focus on the jacket so the administration could point out how shallow we are.

President Trump personally fulfilled that theory in his preferred medium: " '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!"

Or maybe it was a different message to the media — "I really don't care what you think [of me]."

Others thought it might be a message for the president himself: a dig at his immigration policy, which according to reports, Melania Trump had been pushing against. Or, at their marriage. A number of tweets pointed out the similarity to lyrics in a Demi Lovato song:

"But even if the stars and moon collide I never want you back into my life
You can take your words and all your lies
Oh oh oh
I really don't care...
You can take your words and all your lies
Oh oh oh I really don't care."

Not a direct quote, though, so maybe not.

Then there's the most obvious and widespread interpretation: that it was a message to migrant families and people who support their plight. Maybe a gift from anti-immigrant White House adviser Stephen Miller.

But wearing "I REALLY DON'T CARE, DO U?" is just plain weird at the same time you're visiting them to offer your support. It's more like a dog whistle for Trump's anti-immigrant supporters: "I'm publicly supporting immigrants, but you really know I don't care." Again, weird, coming from an immigrant herself — unless you want to use pretzel logic and call it ironic.

Maybe we should just go back to the original market for the jacket to find its meaning for Melania Trump: young women who want to make a statement but aren't able to voice it publicly — so they wear their ennui on their backs.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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