First lady Melania Trump went on her first solo trip abroad in early October. Melania spent several days in Africa earlier this month, and her trip included stops in Malawi, Kenya, Egypt, and Ghana. On her trip, Melania had photo ops with baby elephants and schoolchildren.
Melania was criticized for using the trip as a photo shoot opportunity, wearing outfits that were reminiscent of colonial oppressors. According to The New York Times, Melania was not the only Trump who wanted to take advantage of African photo ops.
According to The New York Times report, Melania’s chief of staff announced at a staff meeting months ago, that the first lady would be traveling to Africa for her first solo trip abroad. After the announcement, Melania’s staff received a message from her stepdaughter Ivanka’s staff. Ivanka, who is both first daughter and a senior aide to her father, also planned to travel to Africa but had not made an announcement about the trip.
Of course, Melania and Ivanka could not plan simultaneous solo trips to Africa. Melania’s trip won the day. She traveled to Africa to promote her “Be Best” initiative. After she returned from her trip, President Trump talked about how “shocked” she was by the intense poverty in Africa. He said, “And she saw some things that were very eye-opening and tremendous poverty. Tremendous poverty. So we’re trying to help.”
According to the Times, while Melania was in Ghana as part of her tour of Africa, she she held a baby in Accra, and the photo was distributed to the press, and video of the meeting was posted to the first lady’s Instagram and Twitter.
Thank you Ghana! 🇺🇸 🇬🇭 pic.twitter.com/d34cqFyRdN
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) October 4, 2018
Just two days later, in a video posted to Ivanka’s Instagram and The White House’s Twitter, she high-fived a young black girl in North Carolina, while she was visiting recovery sites following Hurricane Florence. The video was the closing scene of the video, where she talked with North Carolinians.
.@IvankaTrump visited with search-and-rescue heroes in Mooresville and volunteers and families in Lumberton, NC—a community still recovering from Hurricane Florence. Many thanks to the volunteers who are hard at work on behalf of fellow Americans in the wake of the storm! pic.twitter.com/OHjhvDWwdH
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) October 4, 2018
Now, it appears Ivanka will be able to get in on the African photo ops herself. She will go to Africa with Trump defender Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC). According to The New York Times, her trip “will showcase her role as an informal White House liaison with members of Congress and her interest in economic empowerment.” Ivanka, like her stepmother, is sure to achieve lovely pictures, if not effective policy, on her Africa trip.