Many observers immediately noticed both First Lady Melania Trump and her stepdaughter, Ivanka Trump, were wearing black veils over their heads at the Vatican. Inevitably, comparisons were drawn to the first lady’s decision not to wear any type of headscarf when she visited Saudi Arabia.
“The First Lady and First Daughter have worn head coverings in the presence of Catholics, but they did not in the presence of Muslims,” Indy100 made sure to point out in its report. There were also countless tweets making the comparison on Wednesday.
While Melania’s two different looks will likely turn into an anti-Trump meme, the story requires plenty of context.
So why did Melania and Ivanka Trump wear a veil at the Vatican? The answer is pretty simple.
The first lady’s communication director, Stephanie Grisham, told CNN:
“Per Vatican protocol, women who have an audience with the Pope are required to wear long sleeves, formal black clothing, and a veil to cover the head.”
That seems pretty straightforward.
Plus, you might remember that another first lady made the same respectful gesture during a past trip to the Vatican: Michelle Obama.
But Melania wasn’t disrespecting Saudi Arabia by forgoing a headscarf, either. Unlike the Vatican, the Middle Eastern country did not make any requests or issue any requirements regarding clothing, Grisham added.
Despite the conversations happening here at home, Saudi press praised Melania for wearing this conservative black jumpsuit as a sign of respect for the nation’s culture.
Just like Melania, Michelle Obama declined to wear a headscarf during a past visit to Saudi Arabia. She instead also wore a conservative outfit out of respect.
It’s just proof that Melania, like her husband, will never be able to win everyone over.