First lady Melania Trump just wrapped up her first solo international tour, visiting four countries in Africa to promote child welfare programs and even fitting in some time to toss reporters a few unscripted tidbits in front of the Great Sphinx in Giza, Egypt over the weekend.
Asked if she was using her tour and tweets as a way of “talking at” the president, Melania simply explained that she doesn’t “always agree” with him, but gives him her “honest” opinions and advice.
“I don’t always agree what he tweets. And I tell him that,” she said. “I give him my honest opinion and honest advice. And sometimes he listens and sometimes he doesn’t. But I have my own voice and my opinions and it’s very important for me that I express what I feel.”
In a lighter moment, Melania laughingly responded, “Yes,” when asked if she had ever told the president to put the phone down.
Melania Trump visited Ghana, Malawi, Kenya, and Egypt during last week’s tour, where she visited with children in hospitals, clinics, orphanages, and schools in an expansion of her “Be Best” child welfare initiative, as well as highlighting wildlife and historical site preservation programs. She also met with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and his wife, Entissar Mohameed Amer.
.@FLOTUS speaks with young child as she hands out teddy bears and Be Best-themed blankets donated by the White House to young children and their mothers at the Greater Accra Regional Hospital in Accra, Ghana. #BeBest pic.twitter.com/jh6erTOJei
— Doug Mills (@dougmillsnyt) October 2, 2018
Thank you #Ghana! The arrival ceremony, visit to Ridge Hospital, tea at the Jubilee House & meeting the hard workers at the U.S. Embassy made for an amazing first day. Thank you to @RAkufoAddo & the people of #Ghana for such a memorable visit. pic.twitter.com/BCSqgCyGOM
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) October 3, 2018
The five-day tour’s main message, Trump said, was “that we care and we want to show the world we care, and I’ve partnered and am working with USAID. And that’s what I want to share, that we care.”
But while reporters tried to get the first lady to say something divisive, asking if she would push for more aid funding once back in Washington, Melania Trump said elegantly: “We are having funding, so we are helping the countries, and we are working hard for helping them and we will continue to help.”
Of course, the first lady’s wardrobe is always under scrutiny, and this time, she was sharply criticized on social media for wearing a “pith helmet” while visiting Nairobi National Park in Nairobi, Kenya on Friday. Naysayers said the headwear choice invoked colonial-era Africa.
But when reporters at Giza asked about the hat controversy, Trump shut them down.
“You know what, we just finished an amazing trip… I want to talk about my trip and not what I wear,” she said. “That’s very important what I do, what we’re doing with U.S. aid and what I do with my initiatives and I wish people would focus on what I do, not what I wear.”
A beautiful thing
President Donald Trump spoke out in support of his wife’s tour last week, tweeting:
Our country’s great First Lady, Melania, is doing really well in Africa. The people love her, and she loves them! It is a beautiful thing to see.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 4, 2018