First Lady Melania Trump plans to visit Ghana, Malawi, Kenya, and Egypt during her trip to Africa to promote child welfare across the continent, according to the Star Tribune.
The first lady revealed her plans at a reception for spouses of foreign leaders at the U.N. General Assembly.
“October 1st will mark the first day of my solo visit to four beautiful and very different countries in Africa,” Mrs. Trump said.
She added that she’s looking forward to the opportunity of spreading her “Be Best” anti-bullying campaign — focused on opioid addiction and online behavior — across Africa.
Each of the countries that she’ll visit during her trip have worked closely with the U.S. Agency for International Development, which played a major part in organizing the trip.
“Whether it is education, drug addiction, hunger, online safety or bullying, poverty or disease, it is too often children who are hit first, and hardest, across the globe,” Mrs. Trump said. “Each of us hails from a country with its own unique challenges, but I know in my heart we are united by our commitment to raising the next generation to be happy, healthy and morally responsible adults.”
The first ladies of Ghana, Malawi, and Kenya all attended the event — and Mrs. Trump recognized each one individually during her time speaking.
— The Hill (@thehill) September 26, 2018
Stephanie Grisham, Trump’s communications director, told CNN that the first lady specifically chose the Africa trip as her first major solo excursion long before the trip was announced.
“Mrs. Trump has always envisioned her first international trip would be Africa,” Grisham told CNN. “So, we’ve ‘known’ that we would be doing this since the very beginning.”
The trip might be seen as a chance at reconciliation for the Trump administration and African nations, considering that the President called Haiti and African nations “s***hole countries” during a bipartisan meeting with senators at the White House, according to NBC News.
Grisham told CNN that planning for the trip had started in February, while the in-depth event and logistics work for the first lady’s trip started to get serious as of this summer.
When asked why October was the right time for the First Lady to take her first solo trip abroad, Grisham said that many factors — including Melania’s schedule as “both first lady of the United States and as a parent,” — played a role in determining when and where the trip would take her.
The first lady’s only other trip abroad, since moving into the White House, was a September 2017 visit to Toronto to join Britain’s Prince Harry at The Invictus games — a competition the Prince founded for wounded veterans and military service members.
She also accompanied President Trump on outings to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Brussels, France, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and Finland for a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
She did not travel with the President for a similar meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un due to a kidney surgery in mid-May.