Editor’s Note: Carol Costello is the host of “Across America With Carol Costello” on HLN. The views expressed in this commentary are her own.
It was early afternoon on Thursday that I was defending Melania Trump on my HLN show, “Across America.” You know, post-Peter Fonda tweet, pre-jacket.
Fonda, an actor, had rage-tweeted, “We should rip Barron Trump from his mother’s arms and put him in a cage with pedophiles and see if mother will will stand up against the giant a–hole she is married to.”
I was incensed. Melania Trump had persuaded her husband to end (sort of) the separation of families at the border. How dare Peter Fonda?
And then Melania Trump showed up in McAllen, Texas, in her signature safari-type shirt and white tennis shoes to visit the children ripped from their parents’ arms.
Nomiki Konst, a guest on my show and a Bernie Sanders surrogate, speculated on the reason for Trump’s trip, saying, “Maybe she’s there because Peter Fonda called attention to this?”
John Phillips, a conservative radio talker, rolled his eyes. “I think we’ve kind of missed the point here. The one that got slurred in this tweet was Barron Trump.”
I was all-in with John in his all-out defense of Melania Trump until – the jacket. Photographers caught our elegant first lady wearing a $39 jacket from the clothing store Zara. It is weird enough that she shopped at Zara – this is a woman who toured Sicily with the G-7 spouses in a $51,500 Dolce and Gabbana jacket last year – but it was way weirder to read the words on the back of that Zara fashion find: “I really don’t care. Do u?”
Melania Trump’s spokeswoman insisted the jacket’s message had nothing to do with the traumatized children detained in Texas. “There was no hidden message.”
If that’s true, then Donald Trump must be mistaken. He tweeted that his wife’s jacket “refers to the Fake News Media.”
Melania Trump’s spokeswoman also urged the media not to “focus on her wardrobe.”
Done and done, because instead of attention being paid to his wife’s jacket, it should be on President Trump’s actions.
Back in D.C., he was busy trying to get permission to extend the time immigrant children can remain detained with their parents beyond the current legal limit of 20 days.
President Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services asked the Department of Defense to provide housing for 20,000 children. And Attorney General Jeff Sessions was busy giving interviews insisting “we never really intended” to separate families, even though Sessions ostensibly used family separations to deter people from crossing into the United States.
That said, I am still incensed at Peter Fonda’s awful tweet. It was outrageous and wrong.
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As for Melania Trump, she is proving to be the next best counterpuncher in the White House. Instead of admitting wearing such a jacket was a silly mistake, she doubled down, wearing the jacket again as she deplaned at Andrews Air Force Base.
Seriously, Mrs. Trump, stop confusing us. You were initially right – it’s about the children. Not the fake news or your husband, but the children. Why not counterpunch for them and not your choice of jackets?