Well, at least Melania Trump has stopped pretending
I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but I’m starting to think that the Trump family doesn’t quite have our best interests in mind. Maybe I’m reaching here, but it seems like there’s a hidden code in the bellicose messaging coming from the White House and its inhabitants this week. After a news cycle filled to the brim with sinister stunts at the expense of the health, liberty, and safety of thousands, President The Joker and first lady Harley Quinn AKA Melania Trump turned to the nation and proudly announced, “We are The Joker and Harley Quinn,” to which the entire nation wearily replied, “No duh.”
Like Hans Gruber dropping his feigned American accent, the first family has gone full villain this week. It was launched by the very calculated migrant family separation crisis, which the Trump administration created, cultivated, and escalated. It was then fuelled by the president’s own vituperative Twitter attacks on, at press time, Democrats, the media, the FBI, Germany, Mexico, immigrants, and Hillary Clinton. Now, the week culminates with a reveal that wouldn’t even qualify as shocking on this disappointing season of Drag Race.
While staging a photo op at a Texas shelter for unaccompanied children, the first lady chose to don a $39 Zara jacket that read “I REALLY DON’T CARE DO U?” With a message on the back written as haphazardly as the Trump family’s social media strategy, the first lady revealed herself to be, at best, as antagonistic toward basic human decency as her husband is. At worst, she is actively engaging in his villainy.
Photo: The Cut
This is shocking, especially from a dramatic point of view—where are the writers supposed to go next season? Everybody thinks they can pull off the beguiling antiheroism of Frank Underwood, but Frank Underwood isn’t even on his own show anymore so the Trumps need to take this plan back to the lab.
The first lady’s spokesperson says it’s just a jacket. The president says it was a message to the media. They’re like two suspects in different interrogation rooms who can’t get their story straight. Meanwhile, your friends online tell you to leave it be because it’s a distraction. But I’d argue it’s all part of the same idea. If the Trump administration wants us to forget about the atrocities being committed in their names against migrant families and children, turning to the camera and mouthing “We’re bad people lol” is not the way.
Some say Melania Trump wore the jacket (twice!) because of the weather in Maryland, where she boarded the plane. I am in Maryland (embedded!) and I haven’t worn a jacket since Roseanne had a source of income. Also, DC is a swamp. Like literally. It’s swampland. In the middle of a swamp in the summer, you don’t need a jacket or any clothes whatsoever. The only thing you need is a Groupon tour with Tiffany Haddish. So the jacket was not just jacket, just like a chain-link fence surrounding children is not just a chain-link fence.
The Trumps and their acolytes may spin this whole imbroglio as owning the media or the left, but they’ve ultimately played themselves. They’ve pulled the first lady into this ugly narrative rather than keeping her opaque and passably neutral. De-planing in Maryland last night, once again wearing the jacket even after the controversy had blown up, Melania cut the figure of Kevin Spacey’s character Verbal Kint at the end of The Usual Suspects dropping his limp and revealing his true identity. She’s not just the bystander. She’s Keyser Söze. (Keyser Slovenia? Let’s workshop it.)
You never want to go full villain. There were some who maintained that Mrs. Trump is an unwitting or imprisoned victim of her husband’s scheming. Not only does this smack of misogyny, but it’s frankly untrue.
After all, Melania Trump went on HLN in 2011 of her own freewill and spread birther conspiracies about then-President Obama. (I will always remind you of this.) The villainy was always there but at least there was nuance, which is a cold comfort, I suppose, but you take what you can get. Now, with the first lady wearing aggressive message attire like a rebellious teenager in possession of a Hot Topic gift card, all nuance is gone. And with it, any part of the narrative that doesn’t paint these two as willfully and gleefully antagonistic to the United States of America.
Between Trump’s whole “Richard III as a Twitter bot” persona, the first lady’s fashion trolling, and Ivanka Trump’s vacillation between deafening silence and combative subtweets, the First Family ends this week looking like the bumbling hyena henchmen from The Lion King. The problem: there’s no Scar, unless you count the jagged gash across the soul of the country.
Sure, someone is probably masterminding this full-scale assault on the American people, but master and mind are both very generous terms in this instance. This is clumsy; it’s rude. It’s bad villainy. The thing that’s so annoying about this point in the narrative is that we don’t even have smart bad guys. That’s probably better for us, for our well-being, even—as wild as it may seem—for our mental health. But that, too, is the coldest of comforts. The Trumps are not disguising their values or their intentions. They are playing the roles of themselves. And by playing themselves—you see where I’m going with this right?—they played themselves.
From: ELLE US