Melania Trump’s goodwill trip to Africa shows that Donald Trump’s sharp criticism of the continent is not forgotten.
As the first lady arrived in Malawi, she was greeted by a number of demonstrators who made reference to Donald Trump’s previous comment calling African nations “sh**holes.” Trump reportedly made the comment in a closed-door White House meeting on immigration, as the president decried why the United States had to take in immigrants from places like Haiti and Africa. As the Associated Press reported, the local residents wanted to remind Melania Trump that he was off the mark about that.
“#NOTAS**THOLE!” one of the signs read as she departed off the plane.
Another made reference to Donald Trump’s policy to separate immigrant children from their parents at the U.S. border crossings.
“69 Days Past the Deadline to Reunite Families.”
There were also many happy to see the first lady, and she was given a handful of flowers as a greeting when she got off the plane.
This is not the first time that Trump’s description of African nations as “sh**hole countries” has spawned protest. Shortly after he made the remarks, someone projected the words “SH**HOLE” onto the front of the hotel Donald Trump owns in Washington, D.C.
The African trip has been mostly a chance for Melania to tour humanitarian programs funded in part with American dollars. In Malawi, she visited the Chipala Primary School, which is partly funded through the U.S. Agency for International Development.
“I wanted to be here to see the successful programs that [the] United States is providing the children and thank you for everything you’ve done,” Melania Trump said (via The Hill).
“Meeting those children and understanding their different way of life is why I wanted to travel here,” the first lady said later in the visit. “I was heartened to spend time with the students and was honored to donate school supplies and soccer balls.”
Melania also pushed her “Be Best” campaign, which encourages positive behaviors including an end to online bullying.
— Doug Mills (@dougmillsnyt) October 4, 2018
As Fox News noted, Melania Trump seemed at ease in her first solo trip to Africa, something both Michelle Obama and Laura Bush had done before her. Video showed her spending time with children in schools and touring humanitarian facilities, going beyond the normally quiet demeanor and preference to remain out of the spotlight and behind the scenes.
Melania Trump is set to travel to Kenya and Egypt before returning from her solo trip to Africa.