Published: Sat, October 06, 2018
Entertaiment | By Lawrence Myers

Hat Melania Trump Wore In Kenya Sparks International Storm

Hat Melania Trump Wore In Kenya Sparks International Storm

First lady Melania Trump looks out over Nairobi National Park in Nairobi, Kenya.

The helmets were worn by European explorers in Africa in the 19th century before it became "a symbol of status - and oppression". She dismissed reports about alleged derogatory comments reportedly made by President Donald Trump about African countries and said the issue had not come up on her visit.

But on social media, the angry tweets and hashtags about the helmet rolled in: #FLOTUSinAfricaBingo documented what some felt were Trump's tone-deaf fashion choices.

First lady Melania Trump looks out over Nairobi National Park in Nairobi, Kenya. She said her time on the continent so far has been "unforgettable" and "incredible".

"I think he's highly qualified for the Supreme Court", the first lady told reporters while in Egypt on her first solo overseas trip.

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She was shown a pile of ashes, after the park burnt 105 tonnes of ivory to dissuade people from the trade.

However, her choice of headgear has been questioned.

Laura Seay, an Assistant Professor at Colby College who studies African politics, conflict and development, tells NPR the pith helmet, a thick form of head protection, also came about because of unscientific - and later debunked - theories colonialists had about unsafe radiation in the tropics.

Mrs Trump's visit to Kenya was the third stop on her Africa tour, which began on Tuesday in Ghana.

Ms Trump's focus on wildlife stands in contrast to efforts by her husband to lift a ban on some elephant trophy imports, which created a public outcry previous year.

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The US First Lady landed in Kenya on Thursday night and was received by First Lady Margaret Kenyatta at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi County.

"Her attire is a signal of her understanding of what Africa is in 2018".

In a Facebook post on Friday, Sisi's wife welcomed Melania by saying she would arrive to her "second country, Egypt". She has posed for photos with babies and children, often murmuring the same things at each stop - "Beautiful!" and "Hi, guys!" - while holding their hands or waving at the cameras. It was her first major solo trip overseas and a rare example of a time when she has answered questions by reporters.

Even before the pith helmet, Seay had started a hashtag - #FLOTUSInAfricaBingo - to note the ways in which she found that Trump was "fulfilling a lot of stereotypes" on her trip.

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