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Melania's Jacket

Rich Galen

Monday June 24, 2018


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  • The Biggest Thing in the immigration debate was the jacket that Melania Trump wore from the motorcade to the door of her airplane at Joint Base Andrews.

  • She was on her way to visit a detention center in Southwest Texas and did not wear the offending jacket while she was there.

  • You've seen it. Ok, if you were too engrossed in the World Cup to be paying attention, here's a composite image:

  • This jacket, according to the NY Times, from Zara for about $39, blew up the Internet.

  • What did she mean? Was it aimed at Donald Trump? Was it aimed at the media? Was it aimed at Trump's supporters? Was it aimed at who knows?

  • I was, and am, willing to give Melania a pass on this one.

  • The Immigration Debate has become so superheated that everything - anything - that can possibly be interpreted as being pro- or anti-Trump's policy is instantly extended out to its most illogical point and held up as a central argument.

  • Trump might say: If you oppose my immigration policy then you are in favor of MS-13 coming to your daughter's junior high school, kidnapping her, and selling her to Boko Haram in Nigeria in return for Chick-Fil-a gift cards.

  • Anti-Trumpers might say: If you support Trump's immigration policy then you are in favor of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents coming to your daughter's junior high school, snatching her best friend (who might be of questionable citizenship), sending her - with her parents and other relatives - to a re-education center in the Southwest desert and inviting the Chick-Fil-a guy to the White House for afternoon snacks.

  • Everyone's choosing up sides.

  • White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and her family were asked to leave a small restaurant in rural Virginia after the employees called the owner to have her to come down and toss them.

  • According to reports, it was done with civility and consideration, but that doesn't alter the fact that it happened at all. I've never been to the Red Hen in Lexington, Virginia and I don't think I'll make the 200-mile trip any time soon.

  • Meanwhile, Donald Trump came as close to admitting a mistake has he has since January 20, 2017 when he signed that hastily drafted executive order to have parents and children re-united. He ignored that part of the issue at a camp meeting in Nevada that night returning to his red-hot rhetoric, but he signed it with cameras and reporters in attendance.

  • So, back to Melania's jacket.

  • I'm taking the position that Mrs. Trump didn't clearly understand the effect of those words in this environment and that no one on the White House staff had the standing or the courage to tell her it was a bad idea.

  • I have been in situations many times with senior officials where only my inability to stop what comes into my head from coming out of my mouth has led me to tell my boss that their tie needed to be straightened, their hair combed, or some other sartorial adjustment was required.

  • The looks of horror on the faces of the staff members around me were testament to the fact that this kind of suggestion is not nearly as easy to make as you might think.

  • Perhaps Melania had some secret and - as yet - undiscovered motive. Maybe she never even looked at the back of the jacket when it was presented for her to put on and didn't know it had become a THING until she got back onto the plane to come home.

  • The First Lady was involved in a pretty cut-throat business: high fashion modeling. She was successful which tells us that - at least in that arena - she had pretty sharp instincts and equally sharp elbows.

  • Unlike the spouse of a more-typical President who has years of practice perfecting that glassy-eyed-thousand-mile-stare and emotionless half-smile while standing next to the political half of the duo, Mrs. Trump didn't sign up for this.

  • I have never met Melania Trump, and probably never will. We will certainly never share a meal at the Red Hen.

  • But, I'm giving her and her jacket the benefit of the doubt.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: CNN's coverage of Melania Trump's visit to McAllen, Texas; an interview with the owner of the Red Hen, and a link to the Red Hen's web page.

    The Mullfoto is a touching photo of the National Cathedral.

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