Running largely contrary to Donald Trump's "America First" philosophy, the president's advisor and daughter Ivanka Trump is now in Africa, where she is working towards the development of a global women's program, The Associated Press reports. Ivanka Trump is currently visiting Ethiopia and the Ivory Coast as part of a four-day trip.
The president's daughter will be meeting with women working in the local coffee industry and taking a tour of a women-run textile factory. Ivanka Trump will also be meeting with leaders and making an appearance at a World Bank policy summit.
Regardless of her intentions, Ivanka will doubtlessly find herself attempting to navigate her father's often vocalized opinions when it comes to international aid, in addition to specific disparaging comments that he has made about the continent of Africa in general. She has received praise and recognition for the project as well as the trip itself, though many critics are taking the opportunity to point out the disparity between her priorities and those of the White House as a whole.
Ivanka Trump's visit to Africa follows a similar trip that First Lady Melania Trump recently took, though in that case, Melania's focus was on the well being of children. The first lady was likewise forced to navigate the rhetoric around her husband's characterization of the continent, including what was reported as a private comment by the president in which he referred to "s---hole countries" in Africa.The trip highlights a number of aid priorities for the United States and the country's work within Africa, including protecting from predatory trade practices originating from Russia and China, as well as education on issues such as childcare and birth control.
While Ivanka Trump may find it hard to identify sources of foreign policy inspiration within her father's administration -- when it comes to Africa -- there is an unlikely role model when it comes to such issues. Daniel Runde of the Center for Strategic and International Studies points out that her work is really building on the efforts of previous administrations, describing her as essentially a "goodwill ambassador" for such issues.
"Secretary [of State Hillary] Clinton provided high-level attention to these issues," said Runde, who has worked for USAID and is an informal adviser to the Trump Administration. "Ivanka Trump is playing a similar role to the role that Secretary Clinton played."
The president has announced no intention to travel to Africa himself.