Recall the fuchsia pink Gucci pussy-bow blouse Melania Trump wore at her husband’s presidential debate — not long after his misogynistic comments in a 2005 Access Hollywood tape. Or perhaps the white Dior pantsuit that caused a stir at President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address — being that the silhouette was a sartorial favorite of his primary challenger, Hillary Clinton, in the 2016 election.
What about the seemingly tone-deaf choice of Manolo Blahnik stilettos during a trip to hurricane-ravaged Houston? And more recently, the “I really don’t care. Do U?” emblazoned across a Zara jacket in a visit to McAllen, Texas, to meet with displaced migrant children who were separated from their families under controversial Trump administration measures.
According to Omarosa Manigault Newman, the first lady was sending a message. But the intended recipient is not who you’d think.
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“I believe Melania uses style to punish her husband,” the former political aide the president wrote in her tell-all memoir, “Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House.” Omarosa served as the director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison until Jan. 20 — a little over a month after the White House announced her resignation.
She continued, referring to Melania Trump’s decision to board Air Force One in that controversial jacket (first image, above): “It’s my opinion that Melania was forced to go to the border that day in June, essentially, to mop up her husband’s mess. She wore that jacket to hurt Trump, setting off a controversy that he would have to fix, prolonging the conversation about the administration’s insensitivity, ruining the trip itself and trying to make sure that no one asked her to do something like that again. Not that Melania doesn’t have compassion for immigrant children; I’m sure she does. But she gladly, spitefully, wrecked her husband’s directives to make him look foolish.”
As the first lady, Trump has a team of professional stylists that surely carefully curate her ensembles, arguably lending credence to Omarosa’s theory. Trump is also not one to speak loudly, thus making it premature to rule out her use of fashion as a means of communication.
“Melania’s style rebellions throughout the campaign and Trump presidency have been intentionally misleading. As a student of fashion and a keenly image-conscious woman, she knows that every one of her style choices will be scrutinized and debated,” Omarosa explained in the book.
“The messages behind her style choices aren’t always clear, but they are never accidental. Taken as a whole, all of her style rebellions have served the same purpose, and not only misdirection and distraction — strategies her husband knows all too well.”
In a statement released by the Washington Examiner, Trump’s communications director, Stephanie Grisham, dismissed Omarosa’s remarks, adding that the former White House staffer “rarely, if ever, interacted” with the first lady. “It’s disappointing to her that she is lashing out and retaliating in such a self-serving way, especially after all the opportunities given to her by the president,” Grisham wrote.
Melania Trump Has Made This Style Mistake Before With See-Through Outfits