Washington D.C., USA : The U.S. first lady Melania Trump will travel to Africa later this year, her office announced Monday, with further details expected in the coming weeks.
“This will be my first time traveling to Africa and I am excited to educate myself on the issues facing children throughout the continent,” Trump said in a statement, “while also learning about its rich culture and history.”
It is not yet clear where the US first lady will travel on the vast continent or when, but according to her communications director Stephanie Grisham, the White House “will release details in the coming weeks.”
Trump previously traveled solo to Canada and has made several trips with her husband.
This trip is expected to focus on good-deed projects.
“I look forward to highlighting the successful humanitarian work and development programs being done in many of the countries,” Trump said in a statement.
The US president has yet to travel to Africa since taking office and has allegedly disparaged what he called “s******e” countries on the continent.
A visit in March by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to five African countries was aimed at repairing some of the damage caused by Trump’s comments — but that effort was dealt a blow by Trump’s firing of Tillerson just as the trip was wrapping up.
Melania Trump indicated a gentler approach, saying “we are a global society and I believe it is through open dialogue and the exchanging of ideas that we have a real opportunity to learn from one another.”
The first lady has at times drawn attention for delivering a message that diverges from that of her husband.
In June, as outrage over the Trump administration’s family-separation policy was at its peak, Melania Trump made a surprise visit to a shelter for migrant children in Texas, where she told workers she wanted to “help these children be reunited with their families as quickly as possible.”
The words emblazoned on a green jacket she wore that day — “I really don’t care, do u?” — also stirred speculation about her intended message.
And on Monday morning, as her husband was lashing out at his political opponents on Twitter, the first lady was warning about the danger of abusive online behavior at a conference in Maryland on preventing cyberbullying.
Social media “can be used in many positive ways but can also be destructive and harmful when used incorrectly,” she said at the event.