Melania Trump to reveal details about her solo trip to Africa
Trump, who as first lady has previously only traveled overseas while accompanying her husband, is slated to visit several countries in Africa in early October. It will be her first ever trip to the region.
“I am excited to educate myself on the issues facing children throughout the continent, while also learning about (Africa’s) rich culture and history,” said Trump in a statement last month.
Stephanie Grisham, Trump’s communications director, told CNN the first lady chose Africa for her first major solo excursion long before details and dates were even in the proposal stage.
“Mrs. Trump has always envisioned her first international trip would be Africa,” said Grisham, not counting a day trip Trump made to Toronto, Canada, last September. “So, we’ve ‘known’ that we would be doing this since the very beginning.”
Grisham says trip objectives and general planning started in February of this year, while in-depth event and logistics work for the first lady’s travel began in earnest this summer. Asked why October felt like the right time to go abroad, Grisham said that a variety of factors, including Trump’s schedule as “both first lady of the United States and as a parent,” were involved in selecting the dates and duration of her itinerary.
Africa is a continent also favored by Trump’s most recent predecessors, first ladies Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton, all of whom visited several countries there solo during their tenures. Obama chose Africa, specifically Botswana and South Africa, for her second major solo trip abroad in 2011 (her first was to Mexico.)
Bush made five solo visits to Africa while first lady, stopping in a total of 15 countries on those trips.
And Clinton, who was the first sitting first lady to undertake a solo tour of Africa, spent two weeks in sub-Saharan Africa in 1997 on a goodwill tour to Senegal, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Uganda and Eritrea.
“We are a global society,” said Trump in her statement about her decision to go to Africa. “I believe it is through open dialogue and the exchanging of ideas that we have a real opportunity to learn from one another.”