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Melania Trump wears $39 jacket with 'I REALLY DON'T CARE, DO U?' scrawled across the back as she boards a plane to visit immigrant children being held at the Texas border

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 21/06/2018 Charlie Lankston
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Video provided by Reuters

Melania Trump made quite the sartorial statement on Thursday when she donned a jacket with the words, 'I REALLY DON'T CARE, DO U?' written across the back while boarding a plane to visit immigrant children being held at the border in Texas. 

The 48-year-old first lady was pictured arriving at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland wearing the $39 khaki design from Zara, before boarding her plane to fly to Texas. 

She removed the offending jacket, which bore the controversial phrase in white graffiti-style writing across the entire back section, before disembarking the plane upon her arrival.     

a man standing next to a woman: Controversy: Melania Trump wore a $39 jacket with the phrase, 'I REALLY DON'T CARE, DO U?' scrawled across the back when boarding a plane to visit immigrant children in Texas

Controversy: Melania Trump wore a $39 jacket with the phrase, 'I REALLY DON'T CARE, DO U?' scrawled across the back when boarding a plane to visit immigrant children in Texas
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

By the time she walked down the steps of the plane after it landed, Melania - who works with a stylist, Hervé Pierre - was wearing a cream button-up safari-style jacket, along with the same white jeans and Stan Smith sneakers she had worn earlier in the day.

It is not known whether someone drew attention to the rather brutal phrase written across the budget-friendly fashion item to her before she arrived in McAllen, Texas, or whether she simply chose to make a style change mid-route, as she has done on a number of previous trips.   

Whatever the reason, the sentiment stated on the jacket - which Melania paired with white jeans and a pair of Adidas Stan Smith sneakers - is certainly at odds with the reported motivation for the trip, which her spokesperson insisted was the first lady's idea. 

She added that Melania wanted see the facilities for herself and to thank the staff working in them.

'Her goals are to thank law enforcement and social services providers for their hard work, lend support and hear more on how the administration can build upon the already existing efforts to reunite children with their families,' Grisham said.

'I'm looking forward to meeting the children,' Melania herself said during her visit to the Upbring New Hope Children's Shelter, a facility that is sheltering 55 children.

The first lady also went as far as to issue a rare public statement on the issue of family separation over the weekend, inserting herself into a policy issue that she had previously been silent on.

The first lady's spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham told DailyMail.com, CNN and other outlets that 'Mrs Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform'.

Grisham added: 'She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart.'    

During her visit to Texas, Grisham insisted that Melania will continue to be a vocal presence on the issue as administration officials try to work out ways to reunited children and their families after President Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday. 

a person riding on the back of a truck: Ready to go: Melania was seen wearing the jacket when she exited her Secret Service SUV at the Air Force base in Maryland, pairing it with white jeans and Adidas Stan Smith sneakers

Ready to go: Melania was seen wearing the jacket when she exited her Secret Service SUV at the Air Force base in Maryland, pairing it with white jeans and Adidas Stan Smith sneakers
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

'While we're going through that process she's going to lend her support and promote family reunification and I'm sure she'll continue to give her husband opinions on what she's thinking along the way,' Grisham said of the visit.   

She also emphasized how much the first lady wants to see children reunited with their families.

'She'll do everything she can and she'll speak her opinions as much as she can.'

Melania's surprise trip to see the young children being held at the border by her husband's administration - came at exactly the same time as he claimed there was a 'massive child smuggling industry' at the border.   

In Washington D.C. the president spoke at length before a cabinet meeting, claiming that there was a 'massive child smuggling industry'.

'People are suffering because of the Democrats. They created, and they have let it happen, a massive child smuggling industry,' he said. 'The human traffickers are making a fortune. It's a disgrace.'

His comments come after he had to execute a u-turn on child separations which had exploded because of a new zero-tolerance policy for people crossing the border illegally, with Border Patrol ordered to arrest and prosecute every person caught crossing illegally.

The Texas briefing was a rare opportunity to hear the first lady speak; she is mostly seen and not heard when at public appearances with her husband, and did not ask any questions when she joined her husband two weeks ago at a hurricane preparedness briefing at FEMA.

But the solo trip gave her a chance to address officials in Texas, and she was hear telling officials; 'Thank you for all you do,' as she started the meeting.

She spoke softly and in a slightly accented voice, before asking her first question: 'How often do the children get to call and talk to their families?'

a close up of a person: On the border: Melania Trump visits the Upbring New Hope Children Center, run by the Lutheran Social Services of the South, in McAllen, Texas, an unexpected visit the day after her husband ended the policy of family separation at the border

On the border: Melania Trump visits the Upbring New Hope Children Center, run by the Lutheran Social Services of the South, in McAllen, Texas, an unexpected visit the day after her husband ended the policy of family separation at the border
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

She also asked officials what kind of shape the children are in when they arrive. 'I've heard they are very happy. They love to study. They love school,' the First Lady said.

She also wanted to know how long the children stayed at the center and if they were without the parents.

Officials told her the majority of the children had arrived unaccompanied - meaning it is unclear how many were victims of family separation.  

a group of people standing in a room: Sober trip: Melania Trump said she was in Texas to thank social workers and law enforcement for their work 'in these hard times'

Sober trip: Melania Trump said she was in Texas to thank social workers and law enforcement for their work 'in these hard times'
© Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited

Melania's visit comes after President Trump credited her and daughter Ivanka for helping change his mind about separating children from their families.

Trump, when he signed his executive order on the issue on Wednesday, indicated that lobbying from Ivanka, who showed him pictures of the caged and kenneled children, and wife Melania had caused him to have a change in heart.

'Ivanka feels very strongly about it. My wife feels very strongly about it. I feel very strongly about it. I think anybody with a heart would feel very strongly about it,' he said.

The first lady also saw the photos from the border and heard the recordings of children being separated from their families.

'She's seen the images. She's heard the recordings,' Grisham said. 'She was on top of the situation before any of that came out. She was concerned about it.'

Grisham said Mrs. Trump saw the images of kids behind chain link fence at an intake facility.

'The images struck her, as a mother, as a human being.'

Melania  is then said to have asked her staff on Tuesday to plan a trip as soon as possible – before President Trump signed the executive order and Grisham said she wasn't sure if Mrs. Trump knew that the order was coming.

a man standing in a room: Mobile: The First Lady's rare solo trip outside Washington D.C. to a children's center where she looked at artworks made by detained children came after her husband entered a political firestorm over illegal immigrant families being separated © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Mobile: The First Lady's rare solo trip outside Washington D.C. to a children's center where she looked at artworks made by detained children came after her husband entered a political firestorm over illegal immigrant families being separated a group of people standing in a room: Public expression: The First Lady's involvement in the border separation crisis marks a new phase in her public profile © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Public expression: The First Lady's involvement in the border separation crisis marks a new phase in her public profile

'I don't know what she knew. She knew what she wanted to do and she told us,' Grisham said.

'She wanted to see everything for herself…. She supports family reunification. She thinks that it's important that children stay with their families.'

'This was 100 percent her idea. She absolutely wanted to come.'

And it was her idea to visit before her husband signed his executive order, Grisham said, and she had no second thoughts after the order was signed.

'She wants to see what's happening for herself and she wants to lend her support, executive order or not. The executive order certainly is helping pave the way a little bit, but there's still a lot to be done.'

President Trump supported this trip but he didn't send her.

'This was her decision. She told her staff she wanted to go and we made that happen. He is supportive of it but she told him, "I'm headed down to Texas," and he supported it.'

'She wants to see these children and she wants to help children. It's not about anything more than that…. She wants to see what's real. She wants to see a realistic view.' 

Melania Trump is an immigrant herself. She was born in Yugoslavia, what is now Slovenia and came to New York City in 1996. She became a permanent resident of the U.S. in 2001 and became a citizen in 2006.

She is the first naturalized U.S. citizen to become First Lady of the United States. 

Asked if her immigration background influenced Mrs. Trump's views, Grisham said she didn't know.

'I don't know that it plays into her thinking but I can tell you guys that when she came into this country she did it legally and she feels that everybody should enter the country legally,' she said.

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