A White House spokesperson has hit back at social media users who criticized Melania Trump over the dress she wore in a 9/11 tribute image – because the white stitching on the back of it was believed to resemble a plane flying into one of the Twin Towers.
Melania, 49, came under fire on Twitter on Wednesday – the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attacks – when President Trump took to social media to share a photo of himself and the first lady at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, with the caption, ‘We will never forget 9.11.01.’
The image was taken when the couple visited the memorial on September 11, 2018, and the tribute draws attention to the back of Melania’s custom navy blue Herve Pierre coat, which features white stitching that some social media users insist looks like a skyscraper.
Tribute: President Donald Trump, 73, took to social media on Wednesday to share a photo of himself and Melania, 49, at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania in honor of 9/11
Old photo: The image, which was taken when they visited the memorial last year on September 11, draws attention to the back of Melania’s custom navy blue Herve Pierre coat
Next to the design is a button flap that is also stitched in white, and some claim it resembles the images of the World Trade Center being struck by aircraft.
Although Melania was photographed wearing the custom coat from all angles during last year’s visit to the 9/11 memorial in Pennsylvania, the now-controversial custom design seems to have gone relatively unnoticed — until now.
Controversy: Twitter users slammed Melania for the white stitching and button flap on her coat, insisting it resembles the images of the World Trade Center being struck by aircraft
Shortly after the tribute image was shared on social media by the president, dozens of users responded to criticize the sartorial choice, prompting a furious backlash that White House spokesperson Stephanie Grisham has since slammed as ‘ridiculous’.
Former Bachelor contestant Ashley Spivey was among those who drew attention to the ill-advised design on the coat.
‘I’m sure I’m not the first one to spot this but who in the world thought it was a good idea for Melania to wear this coat in the 9/11 photo,’ she tweeted. ‘It legit looks like an object is flying into a tower or the Washington Monument.’
‘Is…is that a plane crashing into one of the twin towers in the back of Melania’s coat?!?’ Abe Caldwell asked.
Someone else commented: ‘Melania wears a coat in [their] 911 post that literally looks like a plane flew into a tower. Did they fire all the stylists too or is Melania just the biggest troll ever??’
Others were just utterly confused by the design, with one person tweeting: ‘This is not a post to tee off on or unnecessarily savage Melania’s 9/11 attire. But what the hell is that?’
The first lady’s fashion choices are often skewered on social media, and former White House aide Omarosa Newman-Manigault claims in her memoir, Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House, that Melania uses her style to ‘punish’ Trump.
Shortly after Trump’s ‘grab ’em by the p***y’ tape leaked, Melania wore a pussy-bow blouse at the second presidential debate in October 2016.
She donned a white suit to her husband’s State of the Union speech in January 2019, which some believed was a show of solidarity with the women’s suffrage movement.
And she infamously wore a $39 Zara jacket emblazoned with the words, ‘I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?’ as she departed to visit children separated from their families at the border in June 2018.
Timeline: The now-controversial custom design on Melania’s coat seems to have gone relatively unnoticed — until now. Despite the backlash, some people defended the look
Some Twitter users insisted Melania’s custom Herve Pierre coat with its questionable stitching was yet another example of her using fashion to make a statement.
‘Melania never wears something by accident. She is deliberate,’ one person tweeted. ‘She wore a pussy-bow blouse after Trump’s pussy-grab statement. She wore an “I don’t really care” jacket when she went to see children in cages. On the anniversary of 9/11 she wears this embroidered coat? WTAF?’
‘What the heck is on Melania’s skirt? It’s like a huge Washington Monument being quite untoward. Melania knew that weird skirt design would grab all the attention,’ someone else tweeted. ‘On a 9/11 photo shoot, she made it all about her. Who says she’s not a Trump?’
Despite the backlash, there were those who liked the coat, with one person commenting: ‘Melania‘s jacket has the Washington monument stitching with a button flap on lower back. Very cool coat.’
Paying tribute: President Donald Trump and and first lady Melania observed a moment of silence at the White House on Wednesday to mark the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks
Different outfit: Melania wore a simple black shirt dress cinched with a black alligator-skin belt
Hard to forget: Melania infamously sparked backlash when she wore a jacket that says, ‘I really don’t care, do u?’ to visit children separated from their families at the border in June 2018
Another person noted that the ‘plane’ they were seeing in the design is actually ‘a flap of cloth that allows it to reach across the stitching/hem to the button.’
White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham, who was previously the first lady’s press secretary, brushed off the controversy, telling USA Today: ‘It’s ridiculous.’
Much of the ire was over the fact that Melania wore the coat to pay tribute to 9/11 victims, which she did — a year ago.
The first lady may be surprised to be getting flack for the coat when she had on an entirely different outfit to observe 9/11 at the White House and Pentagon on Wednesday.
Melania wore a simple black shirt dress cinched with a black alligator-skin belt to lead the White House staff in a moment of silence on the South Lawn to commemorate the 18th anniversary of the attacks before their visit to the Pentagon.