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Melania Trump Visits Ghana on First Stop of African Tour


US first lady Melania Trump receives flowers during an arrival ceremony after landing at Kotoka International Airport in Accra October 2, 2018 as she begins her week long trip to Africa to promote her 'Be Best' campaign.

U.S. first lady Melania Trump is in Ghana at the start of a tour of Africa — her first major solo international trip since her husband became president.

First lady Melania Trump walks with Ghana's first lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo as she arrives at Kotoka International Airport in Accra, Ghana, Oct. 2, 2018.
First lady Melania Trump walks with Ghana's first lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo as she arrives at Kotoka International Airport in Accra, Ghana, Oct. 2, 2018.

Trump landed in Ghana Tuesday morning and visited the Greater Accra Regional Hospital, where she saw babies being weighed and passed out blankets and teddy bears donated by the White House.

First lady Melania Trump holds a baby as she visits Greater Accra Regional Hospital in Accra, Ghana, Oct. 2, 2018.
First lady Melania Trump holds a baby as she visits Greater Accra Regional Hospital in Accra, Ghana, Oct. 2, 2018.

She then went to the presidential palace for a private tea with Ghana's first lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo.

The White House says her trip — which will also take her to Malawi, Kenya and Egypt — will "focus on maternal and newborn care in hospitals, education for children, the deep culture and history woven into each African country, and how the United States is supporting each country on its journey to self-reliance."

Child welfare has been the focus of Mrs. Trump's "Be Best" campaign launched earlier this year.

Her five-day trip could be complicated by the actions and words of her husband, who has referred to Africa in vulgar terms.

Judd Devermont, the Africa program director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Melania Trump has "some heavy lifting to do on this trip and it's a little bit unfair because that's not what a first lady's trip should be about."

Joshua Meservey, a senior Africa policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation, however, believes President Trump's behavior will not affect the first lady's Africa visit.

"I think the U.S.-Africa relationship is much bigger than the president's comments, and it's been going on for decades and decades." Meservey added, "Frankly, I suspect the vast majority of average Africans have not heard of any of those dust-ups. It's very much an elite preoccupation."

Melania Trump is following in the footsteps of other first ladies who have visited the African continent. Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush and Michelle Obama traveled to the continent multiple times.

Their son, Barron, will not be on the trip and will remain focused on his studies and soccer, per the first lady's spokesperson, Stephanie Grisham.

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