With all of the scandal enveloping Washington as the Senate voted to advance Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh to a final vote, Trump family members continue to create spectacles of their own while the world laughs and points once again.
Last June, first lady Melania Trump visited detained migrant children in Texas and wore a jacket that raised many eyebrows as written on the back of it were the words “I really don’t care. Do U?” Although she did not wear the jacket while visiting with the migrant children, she did wear it upon returning to the capital which some took as a big statement on the Trump administration’s feelings toward migrant children.
Now, on Friday, it was reported that she engaged in another similar fashion faux pas. Melania made a visit to Kenya and is seen in a picture wearing white pith helmet while on a safari. The pith helmet is a common symbol of European colonial rule.
According to The New York Times:
‘But to some — especially those who study African history — her fashion choice in Kenya was still a big error on the global stage: the sight of a first lady wearing something so closely associated with the exploitation of Africans.’
The first lady is in Africa on a four-nation tour. She plans to make stops in Ghana, Malawi, and Kenya, and following those visits, she will visit Egypt over the weekend.
There was much criticism on social media over Melania’s fashion choices. The hashtag #FlotusinAfricaBingo describes “what some felt were Mrs. Trump’s tone-deaf fashion choices.” The creator of the hashtag, political-science professor Kim Yi Dionne said:
‘When people think of Africa, they have these standard narratives. Her attire is a signal of her understanding of what Africa is in 2018. It’s tired and it’s old and it’s inaccurate.’
The Times reported:
‘She is contributing to the Trump administration’s mixed signaling, participating in a ceremonial donation of over one million textbooks in Malawi, one of the world’s poorest countries, on Thursday, even as President Trump has suggested deep cuts to foreign aid funding that could supply future donations.’
On Friday, Melania also visited orphaned elephants at Nairobi National Park where she fed them formula in oversized bottles. It was also observed that she wore a white shirt to the feeding and left the park without a smudge.
According to The New York Times:
‘After the elephant feeding, she added the pith helmet to her outfit, and social media began to light up. As the first lady sat alone in her vehicle, peering through binoculars and shooting photos of zebras, giraffes and impalas on her iPhone, critics were parsing her decision to wear the attention-grabbing white hat.’
Matthew Carotenuto, a coordinator of African Studies at St. Lawrence University tweeted:
‘It’s like showing up to a meeting of African-American cotton farmers in a Confederate uniform. Historical context matters.’
It is unknown how much Mrs. Trump knew about Africa before visiting, and observers have been trying to decipher the reason for her journey. Although she was independent in coming without Mr. Trump, she her decision to wear the helmet demonstrates her lack of understanding of the places she has been visiting this week.
Here’s what Twitter had to say:
Featured image is a screenshot from YouTube