Melania Trump is used to earning high marks for her fashion choices, but now the First Lady is being criticized for an outfit she wore on a visit to Kenya that was compared to a “19th Century colonialist.”
Melania has been visiting African countries as part of her first solo trip as First Lady, including going to an orphanage in Kenya on her next-to-last day of her visit. As the Guardian noted, her decision to wear a hat popular with the white rules of the former British colony during the Kenya visit has garnered criticism.
“Melania Trump has prompted consternation, some anger and much derision by choosing a pith helmet – a symbol of colonial rule across Africa – as headwear for a brief safari in Kenya,” the report noted, adding, “Dressed in riding pants, boots and a spotless white pith helmet, the former model climbed into an open-air vehicle for the safari, taking photos on her iPhone of zebras, giraffes, impalas, rhinos and hippos.”
The report noted that the helmet was worn by European explorers and later by military officers and became a lasting symbol of the European oppression of the continent.
Though Melania Trump has mostly been met with warm welcomes as she has traveled across Africa, checking in on humanitarian programs that receive American support, there has also been some protest of her visit. When she touched down in Malawi, she was met by protesters who made reference to Donald Trump’s past criticism of the continent of Africa. In a closed-door White House meeting earlier this year, Trump reportedly referred to African nations as “sh**holes” and lamented that the United States had to take in refugees from these countries.
As the Associated Press reported, the local residents had not forgotten and greeted Melania Trump with a sign that read “#NOTASH**HOLE” as she departed her plane at the airport. Another sign made reference to Donald Trump’s policy of separating children from their parents after arriving at U.S. border crossing points.
While Melania Trump is usually meticulously dressed — as many would have expected from a former model — she has on occasion stirred controversy with her fashion choices as well. She was roundly criticized for wearing a jacket with the words “I REALLY DON’T CARE DO U” while visiting a child immigrant detention facility earlier this year, and she has also been critiqued for wearing expensive outfits when visiting Americans hit by natural disasters.