Palm Beach County currently has an emergency order in effect that requires wearing face masks and coverings when in most public places. Those rules don’t seem to apply to First Lady Melania Trump, though. When she strolled into a West Palm Beach polling place (the Morton and Barbara Mandel Recreation Center near Trump’s Mar-A-Lago Club where the First Lady recently took up permanent residence) on Election Day to cast her vote for her husband, her face mask was nowhere in sight. According to local paper The Palm Beach Post, 147,000 votes had been cast in-person in Florida’s Palm Beach County as of Wednesday morning. The First Lady clearly put other voters at risk by her flagrant disregard of the mask mandate. But these are the Trumps — is anyone really surprised?
Unlike her husband, who voted early in the same state on October 24, Melania chose to vote in person on Election Day, showing up in a $4,500 horse-bit Gucci dress and oversized tortoiseshell sunglasses. (According to Fox News, her outfit is estimated to have cost $20,000 in total.) When asked why she chose to vote separately from the President, she told reporters: “It’s Election Day, so I wanted to come here to vote today for the election.” She waved at the crowd outside of the polls and smiled, a gesture seen clearly because she didn’t once put on a mask. Unless it was buried in her Hermes Kelly bag, it’s quite possible that she didn’t even bring one.
The utter disdain for others. Wearing a mask isn’t about protecting yourself…it is about protecting others from you. She has Coronavirus…and no mask. She clearly doesn’t give a rat’s ass about anybody but herself.
— Tom Bibic (@TomBibic) November 3, 2020
Her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, addressed the First Lady’s choice to show up to vote without a mask on, despite everyone else around her wearing one. Grisham told The Associated Press that Melania was the only person casting a ballot at the time, and she was joined by her own staff and poll workers who were all tested prior to her arrival.
On Twitter, critics of the First Lady were quick to point out the carelessness she showed by not wearing a face mask on such a highly publicized day and around so many people, especially given her location in Florida, where cases of COVID-19 are spiking. According to The New York Times, 4,637 new cases were reported on November 3 alone. The state has a total of 816,692 reported cases and 16,889 deaths.
@Flotus How arrogant. And you wonder why people have no time for you. Your behavior at the polling center is more proof of your true “I Don’t Care” nature on display-not wearing a mask is so disrespectful to others. Can’t wait to see all you imposters leave. https://t.co/pzFrJuntyd
— Speak Up (@speakup2018) November 3, 2020
“The utter disdain for others,” tweeted Tom Bibic. “Wearing a mask isn’t about protecting yourself… it is about protecting others from you. She had coronavirus… and no mask. She clearly doesn’t give a rat’s ass about anybody but herself.” @FC19773 expressed similar concern and frustration on the social media platform: “How arrogant. And you wonder why people have no time for you. Your behavior at the polling center is more proof of your true ‘I Don’t Care’ nature on display — not wearing a mask is so disrespectful to others. Can’t wait to see all you imposters leave.”
The latter raised a good point: This isn’t the first time that the First Lady has shown a lack of concern for the wellbeing of Americans during her tenure. In June 2018, she visited the southern border — where families are being torn apart — wearing a $35 army-green jacket from Zara with the words “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” written in white paint on the back. Her choice of outerwear sent a strong message. In October of that same year, she was spotted on a safari in Kenya wearing a pith helmet, commonly worn by the British soldiers who colonized Africa and India in the 19th century, according to Quartz. Many took the sartorial choice as a symbol of oppression. That, or a total disregard for African culture and history.
As her husband’s reelection campaign heated up in 2020, the First Lady addressed the Republican National Convention wearing an army green ensemble designed by Alexander McQueen that looked too close to fascist aesthetics for comfort. Diet Prada called the look “fascion” and compared it to uniforms worn by a number of fascist leaders, including Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and the former Prime Minister of Romania, Ion Antonescu. But unlike her past offenses, Melania’s most recent outfit choice didn’t leave us questioning whether or not it was purposely offensive or just a result of ignorance. Showing up to the polls on a day as crowded and publicized as Election Day, when everyone across the country was encouraged to wear masks as a sign of respect to their fellow citizens, is, in every way, shape, and form, irresponsible, whether she meant it to be or not.
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