First of all, happy birthday to First Lady Melania Trump. Hope everything is great, and may I personally suggest you make the Secret Service take your ID to Cold Stone so you can get a free birthday ice cream. Maybe roll into a Chili’s and get them to sing a birthday song to you. Take a personal half-day. Live it up.
Also, happy birthday to Carol Burnett, Jet Li, Kevin James, Smallville hottie Tom Welling, and my close personal friend Channing Tatum. This post is not about you, but know that you are always in my heart.
Now that we’ve gotten the announcements out of the way, time for the sermon. What in tarnation is up with this tweet from @WhiteHouse?
Either this photo is part of the promotional rollout for “ME!” or it’s sort of a read. I need much more information. Of all of the thousands of photos of the first lady, why did they choose one in which she’s not looking at the camera, surrounded by other people, and sitting alone in the corner like a very literal TikTok performance of Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own”? Make America Make Sense Again!
Aesthetically, I love it. The composition! She’s pulling focus even though she’s not in the center of the frame. Everyone else is in black and she’s in green. The yellow flowers try to grab the eye and Mrs. Trump is like “YOU THOUGHT! Nature is cancelled. Just ask the EPA.”
It’s like one of those photos you’d post on Twitter with the caption “This is like a Renaissance painting!” And then someone would, “Actually, I think you mean a Baroque painting.” And then you and this stranger argue back and forth for days on end until both of you are accusing each other of being anti-American scum and someone brings up Hillary Clinton’s emails and someone else posts a meme of Trump and Mueller boxing shirtless because this is just how the internet works and no one knows why.
All that said, it is a strange choice for a birthday photo from the official White House account. This photo begs the question “What is she thinking?” And also “What were they thinking?” And finally, “Who is spending their time photoshopping Mueller and Trump boxing shirtless?”
To be honest, this is exactly how I would ideally spend my birthday: sitting alone on my couch, dressed like an alternative universe Carmen Sandiego, while all my closest friends stayed at a respectful distance and took flattering photos of me. This is both #goals and also #conceptuallyfraught.
The photo comes from the March 7 Oval Office meeting between the Trumps, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis, and his wife, Monika Babisova. Here’s another view.
It’s not the most recent photo of FLOTUS. That would be this one from Wednesday:
So, the Oval Office picture is just…a photo.
Are they trying to meme her? Is it this?
Is it this?
Is it this?
I will not rest until I figure this out. Help me out, Kevin James and Channing Tatum. America needs your insight now more than ever!
Get Eric Reads the News in your inbox! Sign up for ELLE.com’s newsletter to receive exclusive content every Friday.