Melania Trump announces trip to Africa

August 20, 2018

Melania Trump plans to visit several African countries in October on her first major solo trip overseas as first lady, she announced Monday.

Building on her agenda of promoting well-being of children and stopping online bullying, Mrs. Trump said she will spend her time in Africa focusing on issues affecting children.

“This will be my first time traveling to Africa and I am excited to educate myself on the issues facing children throughout the continent, while also learning about its rich culture and history,” she said in a statement. “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 statement confirming Mrs. Trump’s trip abroad was first reported by The Associated Press.

Exact dates for the trip and which African countries she will visit were not announced.

Spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham told the AP that Mrs. Trump chose Africa as the destination for her first big solo international trip after she learned about some of the development programs in many of its countries. Those programs include U.S. investments in children’s health and education.

The trip to Africa will be the furthest Mrs. Trump has traveled alone since President Trump’s inauguration in January 2017.

Her only other solo excursion out of the country was a day trip to Canada where she joined Britain’s Prince Harry for the Invictus Games, an Olympic-style athletic competition he founded for wounded service members and veterans.

Mrs. Trump also accompanied the president on several international trips, including to Saudi Arabia, Israel, Turkey, Brussels, France, Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom.

Most recently, she accompanied the president last month to Helsinki for his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Mrs. Trump skipped the president’s trip to Singapore for a summit with North Korea leader Kim Jong-un. At the time, she was recovering from a medical procedure on her kidney.

Africa has been a favorite destination for recent first ladies.

Laura Bush repeatedly visited Africa, making five goodwill trips in President George W. Bush’s second term. And Michelle Obama took a swing through Africa on her second solo trip abroad.

Mrs. Obama’s first trip was to Mexico City, where she gave a talk on education and the economy. She took the trip just four months after Mr. Obama took office in 2010.

Mrs. Obama’s trip to Africa also occurred during her husband’s second year in office. Visiting South Africa and Botswana, she sought to advance her husband’s policies on education, health and democracy.

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