Melania Trump – ‘just a jacket’

Melania Trump has increased the controversy over the treatment of children separated from their parents and effectively incarcerated after trying to cross the Mexico-US border (there are claims some arrived at the border without their parents).

Boarding a plane on her way to visit migrant kids in Texas Melania was snapped wearing a jacket with ‘I don’t really care, do u?’ emblazoned on the back.

Image:

Regardless of the reason for wearing this it was a public relations disaster waiting to happen, and so it transpired.

MSN: Social media cared about what Melania Trump wore on her way to visit migrant kids

The first lady was first photographed in the jacket — which the Daily Mail identified as a $39 jacket from fast fashion retailer Zara, though it appears to have previously sold out — boarding a plane in Maryland earlier Thursday. She was on her way to visit a shelter for migrant children, amid outrage over the Trump administration’s decision to separate thousands of children from their parents at the border. The practice was ended on Wednesday, but thousands of children have yet to be reunited with their parents.

Melania’s PR tried to play it down.

Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s director of communications, sought to calm the furor and blamed the media for stirring it up.

“It’s just a jacket. There’s no message. I hope we can talk about her important visit with children today rather than her wardrobe choice,” Grisham said, earning suspicion from some quarters that the wardrobe choice was purposefully designed to bait the media.

If it was designed to bait the media it worked, but not very well for the already widely criticised Trumps. Melania had been seen as the sensitive one with some social conscience, but that image has taken a hit.

It’s debatable whether it’s “just a jacket”. Grisham and the Trumps will be well aware of media interest in what Melania might wear.

Arriving back in Maryland, Mrs. Trump was captured on camera again. The jacket was back.

That suggests it may have been a deliberate attempt at media diversion. And the Donald added to the media attention.

That’s a lame response, even by his standards.

I really don’t care if Trump tries to blame reporting on the media. Do you?

This was very insensitive, and  if it was deliberately provocative it was a a very stupid situation to be doing it in.

This later tweet doesn’t help.

Presidential parade

An ex-presidential line-up.

That was taken at ex-First Lady Barbara Bush’s funeral.

President Trump didn’t attend the funeral, which was not out of the ordinary. USA Today: President Trump was not at Barbara Bush’s funeral – here’s why

President Trump did not attend former first lady Barbara Bush’s funeral on Saturday in Houston.

Instead, first lady Melania Trump was there representing the Trumps, continuing a tradition of first ladies attending the funerals of their predecessors.

The White House told the BBC Trump wouldn’t attend “to avoid disruptions due to added security, and out of respect for the Bush Family.”

Trump’s absence isn’t unusual for a sitting president. The last president to attend a first lady’s funeral was John F. Kennedy, who went to Eleanor Roosevelt’s service in 1962.

Former president Barack Obama did not attend Nancy Reagan’s funeral in 2016 or Betty Ford’s in 2011, and Bill Clinton did not attend the funeral of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Clinton did speak at a graveside service for her at Arlington National Cemetery in 1994.

A president in attendance would be potentially quite disruptive with all the security involved.

CNN: President Trump won’t attend Barbara Bush funeral, to ‘avoid disruptions’

Former President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter will not attend, as Jimmy Carter will be on a trip overseas and Rosalynn Carter is recovering from recent intestinal surgery, a spokesperson for the Carter Center said in a statement Thursday.

Bush, the matriarch of a Republican political dynasty and a first lady who elevated the cause of literacy, died Tuesday. She was 92.

There could have been unnecessary controversy if Trump had attended, as Barbara Bush had strongly criticised him during the presidential campaign. Snopes has a summary:

During the 2016 campaign, Barbara Bush didn’t hold back in her critiques of then-candidate Donald Trump. In the course of a CNN interview, for example, she proclaimed that “[Trump] doesn’t give many answers to how he would solve problems. He sort of makes faces and says insulting things … He’s said terrible things about women, terrible things about the military. I don’t understand why people are for him, for that reason. I’m a woman … I’m not crazy about what he says about women.”

In another interview with CBS, Bush again lambasted Trump for his comments about women and called him a “comedian” or a “showman”:

Trump beat off a challenge from her son Jeb Bush in the Republican nomination for the 2016 presidential campaign.

 

 

 

Kathy Griffin way over the line

As has been discussed here yesterday, the photo of Kathy Griffin with a bloodied Trump mask was way over the line of decency and acceptability.

President Donald Trump:

Yes, it was a shameful thing for Griffiths to do.

First Lady Melania Trump:

I agree that it was a disturbing photo, but questioning the mental health of Griffiths is going too far. It was certainly a stupid thing to do, but it may be no more than poorly considered attention seeking.

Of course Griffin had the right of free speech and expression, but that doesn’t rule out consequences.

An over reaction, or fair enough?

Trump trip – what’s on a head?

Some curious choices over what has been worn on heads by Donald Trump, his wife and his daughter on visits to religious states.

When in Saudi Arabia…

CNN: Melania and Ivanka Trump arrive in Saudi Arabia sans headscarves

First lady Melania Trump and first daughter Ivanka Trump arrived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Saturday morning sporting an absence of headscarves.

When asked why the Trumps went without scarves, the White House responded that they were not required to wear them.

Although they decided to forgo the headwear, both women were dressed conservatively in long pants and dresses.

TrumpsSaudiHeads.jpg

Their choice of dress during the first stop on President Donald Trump’s inaugural trip abroad is notable because Trump criticized first lady Michelle Obama for making the same decision two years earlier – “Many people are saying it was wonderful that Mrs. Obama refused to wear a scarf in Saudi Arabia, but they were insulted. We have enuf enemies.”

One of many Trump contradictions.

When in Israel…

Ivanka was raised a Presbytarian, Her husband is Jared Kushner Jewish and she converted to Judaism before marrying him in 2009.

Trump followed local custom too (he is Presbytarian):

TrumpWesternWall

This was particularly notable because Trump was the first US president to visit the wall.

However is this in Israel?

When in the Vatican…

TrumpsVatican

CNN: Melania Trump wears veil, but not a headscarf

Melania Trump has dutifully considered every outfit she has worn during her first trip abroad as first lady — her visit with Pope Francis on Wednesday was no exception.

With Vatican protocol in mind, the first lady arrived to meet the Pope on Wednesday wearing a black veil and long-sleeved Dolce and Gabbana black dress draped down to her calf. President Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, wore a similar outfit with a larger veil.

“Per Vatican protocol, women who have an audience with the Pope are required to wear long sleeves, formal black clothing, and a veil to cover the head,” Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s communications director, told CNN.

Days earlier, during her visit to Saudi Arabia, a strictly conservative Muslim theocracy, the first lady eschewed the customary headscarf, but stepped foot in the birthplace of Islam wearing a black jumpsuit reminiscent of the abaya worn by most women there. Despite not covering her head, the first lady’s outfit earned her rave reviews from the local press, who praised her attention to the country’s culture.

When asked why she wore a veil at the Vatican but eschewed a head covering in Saudi Arabia, Grisham said there was no request or requirement for her attire from that country.

Melania Trump has prepared extensively, with the help of State Department officials, on the proper protocol and customs for each of the stops on the foreign trip, according to sources familiar with the preparations. She wanted to ensure a smooth debut on the world stage as first lady and avoid any embarrassing missteps.

So presumably Saudi customs and protocols were checked out before deciding what to wear or not to wear. I guess this is just a part of state visits. However there were no Saudi women at the state occasions there.

When in the US…

SalmanWhiteHouse

However it is one way – leaders who traditionally wear something on their heads keep them on when visiting. This is Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and defence minister Mohammed bin Salman at the White House on 14 March.

 

Trump staffer admits plagiarism

Meredith MvIver, a staff writer for the Trump Organisation, has taken responsibility for the speech plagiarism, but she won’t be fired (publicly at least).

There was a political furore after Melania Trump’s speech when it was discovered that some parts of the speech repeated verbatim parts of a  speech by Michelle Obama in 2008. This overshadowed what was otherwise seen as a good speech on the opening day of the Republican Party convention in Cleveland, Ohio.

See NBC News: Trump Campaign Struggles to Manage Melania Trump Speech Fallout

“Not paying attention to details — that costs elections,” a source close to the campaign, who requested anonymity to speak freely, told NBC News.

Top Trump aide Paul Manafort responded erratically to the news, framing the story as overblown, as unimportant to the candidate, and later as part of a partisan conspiracy targeting Mrs. Trump.

Manafort first told CBS News there was “no cribbing” of Obama’s speech and minimized the issue’s relevance.

In an interview with NBC News later that morning, Manafort said Mr. Trump was “very pleased with last night.”

Later, Manafort accused Hillary Clinton of manufacturing the plagiarism story.

Mr. Trump, who praised her “absolutely incredible” speech on Twitter last night, is unlikely to tolerate an error that cuts so close to his relationship with his wife.

But someone has owned up to the ‘mistake’ and it looks like they won’t be fired.

SO cn0q5uqweaqzplf

She says she wrote down phrases given to her by Melania Trump and included them in the speech. This means that Ms Trump was aware of where they came from. So it’s perhaps not surprising that MvIver is not being sacked because that would look awkward for Ms Trump.

CNN: Trump aide offers resignation in Melania Trump plagiarism incident

McIver said she “asked” to put out a statement because she was concerned about how the controversy was “distracting from Mr. Trump’s historic campaign for president and Melania’s beautiful message and presentation.”

The Trump campaign has refused to acknowledge the incident as plagiarism, instead slamming the media and insisting it was moving on, with no plans to fire any staffers.

Donald Trump, for his part, pressed forward with the strategy of attacking the media as late as an hour before the campaign statement Wednesday.

“The media is spending more time doing a forensic analysis of Melania’s speech than the FBI spent on Hillary’s emails,” Trump said in a tweet.

McIver has served as a ghostwriter for the Trumps in the past, helping Donald Trump write some of his books, including “Trump: Think Like a Billionaire.”

The New York Times identified McIver as a former ballet dancer and English major.

There has been concern and criticism expressed about the lack of professionalism in the Trump campaign for months. Experienced campaigners, including Republicans, have said that plagiarism was a fundamental no-no in  political speech writing.

Yesterday Donald Trump was officially nominated as the Republican presidential candidate. He is expected to officially accept this at the convention on Friday.

“She plagiarized a statement about hard work”

The biggest thing to come out of the Republican convention today was Melania Trump’s speech – especially the parts that were Michelle Obama’s speech repeated.

She plagiarized a statement about hard work. Seriously. You can’t write this stuff.

CNN: Melania Trump’s speech plagiarizes parts of Michelle Obama’s
(a video comparison of the speeches via the link)

At least one passage in Melania Trump’s speech Monday night at the Republican National Convention plagiarized Michelle Obama’s speech to the Democratic National Convention in 2008.

Side-by-side comparisons of the transcripts show the text in Trump’s address following, nearly to the word, the first lady’s own from the first night of the Democratic convention in Denver nearly eight years ago.

Fact checking the speeches

The controversy quickly overshadowed the speech, which was to have been her introduction to voters.

First noticed by @JarrettHill

TrumpvObamaSpeeches

Doesn’t look very flash for Ms Trump, nor for Mr Trump, and it has taken over most of the media coverage.

It’s truly fitting that 8 years of mockery of Obama’s teleprompter speeches should end in an Obama speech plagiarized at the GOP convention.

CNN:

The Trump campaign released a statement on the speech after the similarities were uncovered, but the statement did not mention the plagiarism charge.

“In writing her beautiful speech, Melania’s team of writers took notes on her life’s inspirations, and in some instances included fragments that reflected her own thinking. Melania’s immigrant experience and love for America shone through in her speech, which made it such a success,” according to Jason Miller, the senior communications adviser.

Earlier in the day, Melania Trump told NBC’s Matt Lauer: “I read once over it, that’s all, because I wrote it … with (as) little help as possible.”