Melania Trump wore a jacket with the words "I really don't care. Do you?" scrawled on the back when she boarded her plane to visit a child migrant detention centre.
Images of the first lady wearing a green parka jacket from high street chain Zara with the message written in white lettering have emerged.
She is pictured wearing the coat while getting out of her car at Andrews Air Force Base but the jacket was removed and not seen again once she disembarked in Texas.
Mrs Trump visited the Texas facilities where migrant children separated from their parents are being detained.
Her husband Donald Trump responded to the backlash against the jacket, writing on Twitter: ""I REALLY DON'T CARE, DO U?" written on the back of Melania's jacket, refers to the Fake News Media. Melania has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares!"
“I REALLY DONT CARE, DO U?” written on the back of Melanias jacket, refers to the Fake News Media. Melania has learned how dishonest they are, and she truly no longer cares!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 21, 2018
The first lady's spokeswoman said: "It's a jacket. There was no hidden message. After today's important visit to Texas, I hope this isn't what the media is going to choose to focus on."
Mrs Trump met doctors, social workers and those providing medical and educational services to some of the 2,300 children split from their families on the US-Mexico border.
The visit was made after images children housed in barren cages were broadcast worldwide, prompting outrage across the political spectrum.
The first lady helped persuade the president to end his policy of family separation at the border, White House officials have said.
More from Melania Trump
Last summer, Mrs Trump was criticised for wearing four-inch heels on her way to Texas to visit those stricken by Hurricane Harvey.