Eleven-year-old Barron Trump, the youngest son of President Donald Trump, has found himself at the center of a clothing controversy.
A recent post from the conservative blog The Daily Caller called out Barron for what the author said was his too-casual style.
The op-ed, titled “It’s High Time Barron Trump Starts Dressing Like He’s In the White House,” says: “His dad is always looking dapper and his mom has become a worldwide fashion icon since becoming first lady. The youngest Trump doesn’t have any responsibilities as the president’s son, but the least he could do is dress the part when he steps out in public.”
Barron is semi-frequently photographed walking across the White House’s South Lawn with his family as they return from trips around the country. He’s usually seen in a shirt from J. Crew’s kid’s line, and he has even been pictured with a fidget spinner and a backpack.
Most would read this behavior as a kid being a kid. Chelsea Clinton, who was only a few years older than Barron when her father, Bill Clinton, was president, tweeted in support of the youngest Trump:
It's high time the media & everyone leave Barron Trump alone & let him have the private childhood he deserves https://t.co/Wxq51TvgDX
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) August 21, 2017
Still, it’s hard to believe, considering how orchestrated politics in the US is today, that no thought would go into the outfits Barron wears when he steps off Marine One. It’s more likely his clothes are picked to make him seem like a normal, everyday kid with accessible clothing, and make him less of a focus of op-eds such as the one from The Daily Caller.
Using clothes to drive a narrative isn’t a new political tactic, but it may be a sign that the Trumps are getting more accustomed to being under such a bright national spotlight under which nearly all their moves are scrutinized. Fairly or not, the clothing items that political figures wear are often dissected and evaluated for meaning.
Ivanka Trump, the president’s eldest daughter and one of his advisers, was photographed earlier this year leaving her house in the Kalorama neighborhood of Washington, DC, in a dress easily identified as a $35 number from Target’s Victoria Beckham collection.
The Obamas, especially Michelle, often employed this tactic and received positive press for wearing a wide variety of affordable clothing, including pieces from Target and J. Crew. Michelle also wore Oscar de la Renta, Gucci, and many lesser-known designers to more-formal events.