During her trip to Africa this week, first lady Melania Trump once again stunned with a unique outfit but also received another round of criticism for what she wore.
While speaking in Cairo, Egypt, on Saturday, she wore a classy blazer with a tie and white shirt:
— CNN (@CNN) October 6, 2018
But where some might have seen style, others saw oppression. CNN’s Betsy Klein and Kate Bennett complained that Trump’s white hat “evokes colonialist comparison.” They wrote:
There is no need to wear a helmet on the type of safari Trump was taking; she was comfortably stowed in the backseat of a Toyota Land Cruiser; however, the helmet is largely used as more of a sun hat. The Secret Service agents in the vehicle were not wearing hats or helmets, and the guide seated behind her wore a uniform beret. Moreover, while there are no enforced rules or regulations for what to wear on a safari, it is widely suggested that participants avoid bright whites, reds and neon shades.
The New York Times quoted Kim Yi Dionne, a professor at the University of California, Riverside, who also tweeted about the hat:
Melania Trump wearing a pith helmet on her trip to "Africa" is more than a silly sartorial choice. It's a reflection of her outdated understanding of Africa. (Also, she was photographed in safari attire multiple times on this trip.) #FLOTUSinAfricaBingo https://t.co/aCnkOnPBF8
— kim yi dionne (@dadakim) October 5, 2018
She is trolling all of us. pic.twitter.com/jyk9q2hmSR
— kim yi dionne (@dadakim) October 6, 2018
She also referred followers to a thread that claimed pith helmets were part of a “pseudo-scientific discourse that enforced class as well as racial domination.”
The pith helmet is sometimes used to denote a “frontier” spirit of adventure & exploration. This is wrong. Their historical social role was to emblematize white fragility and anxieties, as well as blurring the distinction between white civilians & colonial police/army. 5/
— ⚽️ is a Country (@FutbolsaCountry) October 5, 2018
Trump apparently heard about the criticism and responded by telling critics to redirect their attention to more substantive issues.
Watch her comments below:
“You know what, we just completed an amazing trip,” she said when asked about her hat before adding that she wanted to focus on that rather than her clothing.
“I wish people would focus on what I do, not what I wear,” she explained.
Watch more of her interaction with the press below:
While speaking with reporters, she also addressed the controversy surrounding Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who she said was “highly qualified” to serve on the Supreme Court.
She added that she was glad Dr. Christine Blasey Ford got to make her voice heard after her allegation of sexual assault surfaced. She seemed to dodge a question about whether she believed Ford but said she opposed abuse and violence.
As IJR has previously noted, people have already made critical comments about the first lady’s clothing. When she wore a yellow dress during a visit to the United Kingdom, some suggested she sent a signal that Trump was her beast and she was Belle from “Beauty and the Beast.”
She also caught flak for traveling to visit detained child migrants while wearing a jacket that read, “I REALLY DON’T CARE DO U?”