Today, President Trump departed the White House to survey the cataclysmic flooding of Houston caused by Hurricane Harvey. On a drizzly Washington morning, he wore a disaster-zone-appropriate jacket and chinos. First Lady Melania Trump followed behind, in an olive bomber jacket — and stiletto heels.
The photos indicated they were not just any stilettos, but the ne plus ultra of stilettos — razor thin and ankle-sprainingly high, seemingly inappropriate for the grass the couple had to cross to reach Marine One, much less for touring a city coping with widespread ruination.
A widespread Twitter roasting promptly followed the tin-footed choice.
"I wouldn't normally comment on Melania's shoes but I'm not sure if this is what you wear to go meet ppl who've lost all of their belongings," tweeted @zerlinamaxwell.
I wouldn't normally comment on Melania's shoes but I'm not sure if this is what you wear to go meet ppl who've lost all of their belongings https://t.co/TP3YYgPIwj— Zerlina Maxwell (@ZerlinaMaxwell) August 29, 2017
"Such bravery. And who among us doesn't wear stiletto heels to a hurricane zone?" wrote @scout_finch.
Such bravery. And who among us doesn't wear stiletto heels to a hurricane zone? https://t.co/WQe6grkA8f— Jennifer Hayden (@Scout_Finch) August 29, 2017
"Someone might want to tell Melania that her heels will have to be a little higher for this flood." wrote @NicCageMatch.
Someone might want to tell Melania that her heels will have to be a little higher for this flood. https://t.co/KrZ00qbw94— J.D. Altman (@NicCageMatch) August 29, 2017
The first lady's office took note, and issued a statement about the footwear — perhaps the first statement ever released to defend the propriety of a first lady's shoes, much less a first lady's attire for touring a flooded hellscape. "It’s sad that we have an active and ongoing natural disaster in Texas, and people are worried about her shoes,” said Stephanie Grisham, the communications director for Melania, in a statement to CNN.
Prompt action was taken. When Melania and the president disembarked in Corpus Christi, Texas, around 11:38am, she was wearing Adidas Stan Smith sneakers (the ubiquitous choice of stylish young men in New York City) and a FLOTUS hat (which itself is a story for another time).
It's unclear whether, but unlikely that, the first lady was oblivious to how wearing the stilettos would look. But the Trump administration has been marked by a constant disregard for optics.
And Melania Trump has been the focus of did-she-mean-to-wear-that-or-not speculation before. During the presidential debate following the release of the "Access Hollywood" tape in which then-candidate Trump bragged about grabbing women by the genitals, she wore a hot pink "pussy-bow" Gucci blouse.