Melania Trump wants people to focus more on what she does than what she wears.
Twitter users want to know what it is exactly that Melania Trump does.
The First Lady is on her first solo trip since moving to the White House, a tour of Africa to visit humanitarian projects that receive American funding. During that trip, Melania has garnered some criticism for wearing outfits that some have deemed unacceptable, and White House reporter Jeff Mason said — via Twitter — that the First Lady has responded.
“[Melania] tells reporters in Egypt she wishes people would focus on what she does, not what she wears,” Mason noted.
The statement garnered viral attention and the response on Twitter was fairly swift, with most questioning what exactly Melania has done since taking office. Before the solo trip to Africa, Melania was known mostly for staying quiet and remaining behind the scenes in the White House.
While Melania did announce her “Be Best” initiative — which encourages children to show positive behaviors and cut out cyberbullying — earlier this year, critics noted that the program appears to be taken mostly from an existing one created under Barack Obama. Furthermore, Melania has not done much to promote “Be Best” after it was initially announced.
“Tell us what she has done beside photo ops and plagiarize speeches and pamphlets from the previous first lady?” one person wrote in response to Mason’s tweet.
“Has she tried DOING something noteworthy? Like besides wearing a deliberately inflammatory jacket on an official trip?” another added.
— Jeff Mason (@jeffmason1) October 6, 2018
The statement refers to the controversy Melania Trump generated by wearing what was described as “colonialist” attire during visits to Kenya and Egypt near the end of her trip. While in Kenya she wore a white pith helmet that the Guardian noted was a traditional symbol of the European oppression of Africa.
“But it was the headgear that attracted most attention,” the report noted. “Pith helmets – so-called because they are made of the material sholapith – were worn by European explorers and imperial administrators in Africa, parts of Asia and the Middle East in the 19th century before being adopted by military officers, rapidly becoming a symbol of status – and oppression.”
This was not the first time that Melania Trump was criticized for an offensive fashion choice. Earlier this year, she was widely panned for wearing a jacket with the words “I REALLY DON’T CARE DO U” as she made a visit to a child immigrant detention center. The visit was made at the height of controversy over her husband’s policy to separate child immigrants from their parents.