Talk about optics.
The Biden administration has largely refrained from mentioning former President Donald Trump and his horrendous legacy — a legacy that includes denying science, blurring the responsibility for his family separation policy and much more.
Instead, President Joe Biden and his White House have decided to charge forward, firing on all cylinders and focusing on plans like working to vaccinate America and the world and re-establishing normalcy around our democratic values.
It is a policy of showing, not telling.
One exception to this policy was first lady Jill Biden’s bold sartorial move this week. Biden stepped out in Cornwall, U.K. ahead of the G7 summit, wearing a blazer embellished with the world “love” on the back. It sent a clear, unavoidable message; the Bidens are turning the page on Trump’s tenure — and all of the Trump family, including former first lady Melania.
Indeed, the “love” message seems to stand in sharp contrast to the incredibly ill-fitting phrase, “I Really Don’t Care, Do U?” spotted on the back of Melania’s jacket in 2018as she visited migrant children at a border facility in Texas.
That jacket caused a stir, especially because Melania often did not speak about policy, or frankly about much of anything. What message exactly was she trying to send — and to who?
Ultimately, much of Melania’s legacy has to do with fashion. When her husband was in office, the former model often wore and was judged for picking the trendiest, most expensive or most glitzy items. Take, for example, her $75,000 Birkin bag, her $51,000 Dolce and Gabbana jacket, or her $6,000 J. Mendel evening gown.
But nothing sums up her tenure more than that jacket. Children were being separated from their families and held in cages, and her clothing telegraphed the kind of sarcastic apathy you might expect from a sulking teen. Millions of Americans cared about what happened to those children — even if Melania and her husband didn’t.
I want to thank Jill Biden for showing, rather than telling. This a new era, with new rules. Her jacket says everything – not just about this administration’s approach to humanity, but about their family as a whole: love.