The first lady’s visit on Thursday to a detention center in Texas did involve visiting migrant children. That much was undeniable. They just weren’t the children at the center of her husband’s heartless immigration policy that he’s been scrambling to reverse after it has caused (and was still causing) irreparable damage to everybody involved.
Instead of actually seeing the children who were forcibly separated from their families seeking asylum in the U.S. – a contentious topic that has increasingly come under fire, especially after audio leaked of the children crying out for their parents – Trump stopped by a center that only houses minors who were unaccompanied by their family when they tried to enter the U.S.
That part was conveniently left out of the carefully scripted press release that Trump’s communications director issued Thursday morning, one day after her husband signed an executive order addressing “family separation” which NPR suggested may actually create some brand new problems.
So naturally, when it was announced that the first lady would be traveling to Texas to visit “children who have entered the United States illegally and a customs and border patrol processing center,” the overriding implication was that she would be visiting the kids her husband specifically addressed one day before.
However, as has long been par for this administration’s course, that would turn out to be not quite the truth.
To her credit, the first lady tried her damnedest to keep up that charade up, too, asking officials at the center how she “can help these children to reunite with their families as quickly as possible.”
The public should have been tipped off quite easily after photos and video didn’t show one single cage, which has become the government’s housing of choice for detained migrants, including children. Instead, the imagery from the brief trip frequently showed the first lady smiling, which, of course, was probably not really the reaction that most of America wanted to see at a detention center for children, regardless of how they ended up there.
Meanwhile, a handful of businesses contracted by the government to house the children separated from their families were reportedly busy making tens of millions of dollars.
But perhaps what really summed up the true sentiment behind the entire publicity trip was the further damning optics behind the first lady’s choice of wardrobe – a jacket that bore the following words on the back: “I REALLY DON’T CARE. DO U?”
In trying political times, the country has routinely looked to first ladies to provide the yin to their husbands’ yang. But on Thursday, there was no solace to be provided from Melania Trump, only more unanswered questions about the fate of the children, some of them infants, who were taken from their families at the direct behest of her husband.