Melanie Trump Invaded Africa And All She Got Was This Lousy Pith Helmet
As if this week hasn't been bad enough, we've now got Melanie Trump showing up in the motherland. Who invited her? The first lady is enjoying some much-needed (by practically everyone) time away from Donald Trump in Ghana, Malawi, Kenya and Egypt. Notice that Kenya's on the itinerary. She's probably on a secret mission to find Back Obama's birth certificate.
As for details on [Melania's] agenda while in Africa, [Stephanie Grisham, Trump's communications director] told CNN: "This is a diplomatic and humanitarian visit, which will include stops focusing on healthcare, education, conservation and tourism. As with all that the first lady does, the well-being of children will be a focus at most of the stops."
Conservation is a weird focus, considering that Melania's stepsons like to murder African wildlife to fill the empty chasms where their souls should be. But she's not responsible for Donald Jr. and Eric. We can blame Trump and the crate of Jack Daniels Ivana consumed before conceiving them. Melania is partnering with the United States Agency for International Development to promote her BS "Be Best" platform. She claims that USAID "embodies much of what 'Be Best' stands for." This is like how Michelle Obama's words "embody" much of what Melania's RNC convention speech stood for. Oh, and her lesser half twice tried to reduce funding by 30 percent for the State Department and USAID.
But let's be fair: Melania really cares about all those children in her photo-ops. She hugged them, squeezed them, and renamed a few of them "George." She even awkwardly danced with kids at a Kenyan orphanage and might've taken one home if she'd found one in the right size.
Wednesday, the first lady checked out the Cape Coast Castle, a former slave holding fort on Ghana's coast. She spent 10 minutes inside a dungeon where enslaved men were held and also visited the "Door of No Return," where the enslaved were sent to the horrible "New World." Just 10 minutes? Was she on one of those cruise ship tours where they rush you through everything before getting you back on the boat for dinner?
Here was Melanie's Yelp review of Cape Coast Castle: "I will never forget (the) incredible experience and the stories I heard. The dungeons that I saw, it's really something that people should see and experience." Obama had described it in 2009 as a reminder of "the capacity of human beings to commit great evil."
The working theory was that the first lady visiting Africa would help repair some of the damage after Trump reportedly called some African countries "shitholes." It is after all so generous of her to visit these "shitholes" so all is forgiven. But Melania is also the same master diplomat who visited border kids in "shelters" while wearing a Zara jacket with a graffiti-style scrawl "I Don't Really Care, Do You?" Would someone in her staff who gets a paycheck every once in while help Melania avoid another fashion faux pas?
Is this an early Halloween outfit? Sexy Lord Kitchener? Maybe she caught Out of Africa on Netflix during the long flight over. I just hope to God she didn't go around talking about the "Dark Continent."
The pith helmet has come to symbolize Western imperialism and all the associated bummers for people who aren't white. Most sensible, non-morons don't wear them. Sure, random tourists in Africa with "limited experience of local conditions and sensibilities" might do so, but aren't you at least trying to "Be Best," Melanie? Don't you have the phrase on coffee mugs?
Next time, stick to Norway.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).