Melania Trump Raises Eyebrows in Africa With Another White Hat

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She is contributing to the Trump administration’s blended signaling, collaborating in a ceremonial donation of over a million textbooks in Malawi, one of many world’s poorest international locations, on Thursday, whilst President Trump has urged deep cuts to overseas help funding that might provide future donations.

In every nation on her go to, Mrs. Trump has appeared relaxed, and maybe glad to be out of Washington. She has posed for photographs with infants and kids, usually murmuring the identical issues at every cease — “Stunning!” and “Hello, guys!” — whereas holding their fingers or waving on the cameras. And with Washington imploding over a battle to verify Brett Kavanaugh, Mr. Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court docket, Mrs. Trump appeared freed from the same old scrutiny that nips at her stilettos in Washington.

On Friday, she regarded glad as she visited a crimson clay feeding pen for orphaned elephants on the Nairobi Nationwide Park. She administered them method in outsized child bottles, patted the animals on their heads and inspected their floppy ears. Mrs. Trump, a former mannequin who’s poised and hypersensitive to the criticism she receives for placing one toe misplaced, wore a pristine white shirt to see the elephants. She emerged with no smudge.

After the elephant feeding, she added the pith helmet to her outfit, and social media started to gentle up. As the primary woman sat alone in her automobile, peering via binoculars and taking pictures photographs of zebras, giraffes and impalas on her iPhone, critics had been parsing her determination to put on the attention-grabbing white hat.

“It’s like displaying as much as a gathering of African-American cotton farmers in a Accomplice uniform,” Matthew Carotenuto, a coordinator of African Research at St. Lawrence College, wrote on Twitter. “Historic context issues.”

Past internet hosting first women on the White Home or assembly with them on the United Nations, it’s unclear how a lot Mrs. Trump knew about Africa earlier than she determined to go to. All through her journey, observers have been making an attempt to learn the explanations behind her journey, trying to find clues which may place her in studied opposition to her husband’s harshly leveled stereotypes about African nations.

However Mrs. Trump’s seemingly small determination to put on the helmet appeared to indicate a equally restricted understanding of the locations she’s been this week, argued Ms. Dionne, the political science professor.

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