First lady’s ‘don’t care’ jacket is a gift to memers online

NEW YORK — I really don’t care, do u?

Perhaps one day first lady Melania Trump will use her own words to illuminate her fashion “don’t care” message. Until that theoretical moment, we have the memes on one of the digisphere’s most perfect blank canvases: Her green $39 jacket — one so five seasons ago, no less.

Tony European labels have been more Mrs. Trump’s de rigueur, until Thursday’s trip to a Texas centre housing some of the more than 2,300 migrant children sent there after their families entered the U.S. illegally. When the first lady left Washington and returned, it was in the Zara jacket with the message heard ‘round the interwebs scrawled graffiti-style in white block letters on the back. (She switched to a different jacket for the visit)

It’s the back, where “I really don’t care, do u?” was placed by the global mass market brand Zara, that has become social media’s playground, from the compassionate to the downright raunchy. Whatever Mrs. Trump may or may not have intended — her spokeswoman declared “it’s a jacket” with “no hidden message” — the outerwear’s doctored image not only spread rapidly among those looking to sound off, but to raise money benefiting children like those the first lady visited.

If Mrs. Trump’s jacket, from Zara’s spring-summer 2016 collection, was some sort of counter-message, or a clear diss of the “fake news media” as her husband tweeted, the memes’ clear winner is a reconfiguring to read, simply: “I really do care, do you?” Other messages shouted on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram: “Rise up” and “I have no idea what I’m doing.” One was a wordy trope about the wearer’s racial, sexual and immigrant background.

Not all the fast-spreading, reinvented backs of jackets have been posted by detractors. Some used the military green soapbox to revisit birther theories involving former President Barack Obama.

But the majority of the messages were spicy retorts, such as “November is coming” (others went with the midterm elections instead) and “I wore the heels on purpose,” referring to Mrs. Trump’s sky-high footwear for a trip aboard Air Force One to, again, Texas after Hurricane Harvey. Jackets also read “Robert Mueller is my hero,” ”I voted for Hillary” and “I believe Stormy Daniels.” One used a sentiment that also fit nicely on baseball-style caps of the same fatigue green, “Let them eat cake.”

The Statue of Liberty was bandied about. A hand-drawn version shows the old gal holding the hand of a little pink-shirted girl, the other hand raised high with her torch in place. Liberty is in Mrs. Trump’s jacket and declares: “We should all care.”

Celebrities got into the act, weighing in with memes and mere words. The ever-Instagram present actress Busy Philipps went DIY in a beachy top with yellow stick-on letters used by kids for their art projects spelling out, “I care, do u?”

Some politicians also did it themselves. Rep. Dina Titus, a Nevada Democrat, taped a hand-drawn sign to her back reading “I care” and tweeted out a photo of herself next to one of Mrs. Trump boarding Thursday’s plane to Texas with a personalized message: “Hey #FLOTUS, try this on for size. #WhoWoreItBest #ICare.”

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