First Lady Jill Biden wore heeled shoes Wednesday as she joined the president to tour the disaster damage in Florida after Hurricane Ian ripped across the peninsula as a Category 4 storm.
The shoes themselves aren’t a big deal. The first lady can wear whatever she wants, even if her decisions seem impractical for touring an area ravaged by a recent hurricane. But at the end of the day, who cares? No one in the press corps seemed to, as the president and first lady left the White House this morning. Five years ago, however, the first lady’s shoes were given wall-to-wall coverage as partisan fashionistas hyperventilated over Melania Trump making a similar wardrobe choice to tour Texas after Hurricane Harvey.
Below is a sampling of the headlines admonishing the former first lady over a made-up controversy:
The New York Times: “Melania Trump, Off to Texas, Finds Herself on Thin Heels.”
Vogue: “Melania Trump’s Hurricane Stilettos, and the White House’s Continual Failure to Understand Optics.”
BuzzFeed: “Melania Trump Wore Stilettos On The Way To Texas And People Lost Their Minds.”
Harper’s Bazaar: “Melania Trump Gets Backlash for Wearing Heels to Help Hurricane Victims.”
Business Insider: “The designer behind the ‘storm stilettos’ Melania Trump wore to Texas after Hurricane Harvey has spoken out.”
Hollywood Reporter: “Melania Trump Wears Her Stilettos to Tour Houston Flood Zone, No Joke.”
Vanity Fair: “Who Wears Stilettos to a Hurricane? Melania Trump.”
But to answer Vanity Fair, First Lady Jill Biden does too.
According to Inside Edition, Melania Trump didn’t even wear the stilettos in Texas. The first lady changed into a pair of sneakers on the plane.
While the shoes themselves don’t matter, the double standard absolutely does. The conduct of Trump’s critics not only reveals open animosity for the former first lady, but also reveals just as much how the corporate press approached the Republican administration at large. From disparate hysteria over DOJ resignations to the difference in coverage between the Russia hoax and the Hunter Biden laptop, there is no shortage of examples.
Timberland Boots Are Revolutionary on Kamala Harris, They’re ‘Work Boots’ on Melania Trump
This week’s episode featuring stilettos is far from the first time First Lady Melania has been the subject of the media’s vicious double fashion standards.
In September 2020, then-Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris wore Timberland Boots to tour the fire devastation sweeping her state while she was still a California senator.
The press lauded the footwear as a revolutionary wardrobe pick for a prominent politician.
According to Yahoo! Finance, “Kamala Harris may have made Timberland boots cool again.” Yahoo’s Editor-at-Large Brian Sozzi called the shoe choice a “boss like move.”
Other outlets followed suit to celebrate the California senator’s trendy new look.
“Kamala Harris Wears Her Timberlands, Gets Sh*t Done,” headlined the fashion and beauty magazine Marie Claire.
“Timbs and Converse? Kamala Harris sports Timberland boots after wearing Chuck Taylor All-Stars,” fawned USA Today.
“Kamala Harris’ Timberlands-Pearls Combo Has Our Vote,” headlined another article in Refinery29 picked up by Yahoo! Life.
Timberland boots were seen as tasteless, however, whenever Melania Trump wore them.
“Melania Trump gets mocked for wearing Timberland boots while visiting troops,” headlined Yahoo! Life in 2018.
“Work boots and white jeans? Melania Trump’s outfits still missing the mark for some,” read another headline in USA Today in 2017, removing any description of Timberlands as “work boots” when covering Harris’s shoe pick three years later.
“Melania Trump’s Puerto Rico Outfit and Heels Spark Backlash,” Teen Vogue reported.
Media Turn Scrooge On Melania’s Christmas Outfit
In 2019, First Lady Melania Trump’s Christmas outfit was ridiculed after the prior year’s White House holiday display was given scorched-earth treatment by The Washington Post.
In the piece, titled, “Melania Trump’s Christmas decorations are lovely, but that coat looks ridiculous,” Post fashion critic Robin Givhan complained the first lady looked “cold” and “dismissive” in white despite the color being the dominant hue of the display’s theme that year, which was “The Spirit of America.” The white coat is also a signature look in Melania Trump’s wardrobe.
“More than a silly fashion folly, the coat is a distraction,” Givhan wrote. “It’s a discomforting affectation taken to a ludicrous extreme. In a video that is intended to celebrate the warmth and welcoming spirit of the holiday season, that simple flourish exudes cold, dismissive aloofness.”
Givhan, of course, is an activist fashion critic who always seemed in awe of former First Lady Michelle Obama.
In 2016, Givhan penned a piece examining Obama’s White House fashion legacy titled, “Michelle Obama didn’t like to discuss her clothes, but they spoke volumes.” The next year, Givhan joined the chorus criticizing Melania Trump’s stilettos in Texas.
“There was no pretense about Melania Trump’s heels,” Givhan headlined her reporting in the Post. “But sometimes a little pretense helps.”
“It was also an image that suggested that Trump is the kind of woman who refuses to pretend that her feet will, at any point, ever be immersed in cold, muddy, bacteria-infested Texas water,” Givhan wrote of Melania’s stiletto choice. “She is the kind of woman who may listen empathetically to your pain, but she knows that you know that she is not going to experience it.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, Givhan had written nothing on Jill Biden’s hurricane heels.