The first lady of the USA, Melania Trump has commenced her solo tour of Africa. This comes months after Donald Trump, her husband used a slur in describing the continent as having ‘shithole countries.’
Melania Trump will be visiting five African countries including Ghana, Malawi, Kenya, and Egypt on a tour that will last over 5 days. Her international tour is focused on promoting Child welfare.
It comes after the US president was widely condemned in January over the alleged slur, which he denies ever using.
He was alleged to have used the derogatory phrase to describe Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations during a bipartisan Oval Office meeting to discuss the immigration policy known as DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Allegations which the white house denies.
Democrat Senator Dick Durbin, who was present at the gathering over immigration reform, said it was the ‘exact word used by the president, not just once but repeatedly.’
Judd Devermont, the Africa programme director at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, said Mrs. Trump now had some ‘heavy lifting’ to do in order to strengthen Africa’s ties with the US.
Commenting on how the slur may impact Menia’s tour, he said: ‘It’s a little bit unfair because that’s not what a first lady’s trip should be about.’
However, Joshua Meservey, a senior Africa policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, noted Mr. Trump’s ‘positive engagements’ with some African leaders, including Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, who visited the White House in August.
He said: ‘I think the US-Africa relationship is much bigger than the president’s comments, and it’s been going on for decades and decades.’