Melania Trump responds to criticism about wearing a 'colonial' hat in Africa

Business Insider US
US First Lady Melania Trump goes on a safari with Nelly Palmeris (R), Park Manager, at the Nairobi National Park in Nairobi, October 5, 2018, during the third leg of her solo tour of Africa. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Melania Trump wore a white pith helmet on a visit to Africa that many pointed out is heavily symbolic of colonial rule.
  • Trump told reporters, "I wish people would focus on what I do, not what I wear."
  • It's not the first time her outfits have garnered criticism.

Melania Trump's outfits have garnered criticism and caused some to speculate that she chooses certain styles to make statements - but she told reporters in Egypt that she wishes people would stop paying attention to what she wears.

The first lady wore a white pith helmet on her tour of Africa that many thought was an offensive symbol of colonialism. The style was frequently worn by European travelers and explorers visiting areas such as Africa, Southeast Asia, and the tropics in the late 19th Century, and by military personnel from countries such as Britain, France, Spain, and Italy while commanding colonial armies.

While speaking to reporters near the Great Sphinx in Egypt, she responded to the outcry by talking about what she hoped to bring the world's attention to on her visit instead.

"You know what? We just completed an amazing trip. We went to Ghana, we went to Malawi, we went to Kenya, here we are in Egypt. I want to talk about my trip, not what I wear," she said. "That's very important, what we do, what we [are] doing with US aid, and what I do in my initiatives, and I wish people would focus on what I do, not what I wear."

Trump has previously faced criticism for wearing a jacket that said "I really don't care, do u?" while visiting immigrant children detained at the US border and for wearing R9,000 Manolo Blahnik pumps to visit the site of Hurricane Harvey.

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