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First Lady Melania Trump Continues African Tour; Media Outlets Discuss Disconnect Between Trip, Administration’s Policy Priorities

Associated Press: Melania Trump promotes U.S. agency, Trump wants to cut funding
“Melania Trump spent Thursday in southern Africa promoting the work of a U.S. international development agency whose funding President Donald Trump has twice proposed [cutting]. Lawmakers essentially ignored those requests…” (Superville/Lee, 10/4).

NPR: Melania Trump Stops In Kenya On 4-Nation Solo Trip
“…Her main point, her office has said, is to highlight the work of USAID on the continent. But the words and policies of her husband have also cast a shadow. President Trump has reportedly disparaged African countries and his administration has loosened restrictions on importing trophies from big game hunting. They have also re-instituted a policy that bans [global health] aid from any [foreign] organization that even talks about abortion…” (Peralta, 10/5).

USA TODAY: Melania Trump’s solo trip to Africa offers sharp contrast to President Trump’s policies
“…Melania Trump’s solo trip to Africa has captivated international aid and global health advocates, who have otherwise watched in frustration as the Trump administration moved to defund and deprioritize longstanding American programs aimed at strengthening Africa and solidifying U.S. interests across the developing world. … Melania Trump’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, did not respond to emails seeking comment on the clash between the focus of the First Lady’s trip and her husband’s policies. But the State Department’s spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, dismissed questions about the mixed messages. … ‘The continent of Africa is one that’s extremely important to this administration, to the U.S. government, and I think that is evident in the fact that the First Lady is making her first solo foreign trip to the African continent,’ Nauert said. Others are not convinced the White House sees Africa as ‘extremely important,’ the First Lady’s trip notwithstanding…” (Shesgreen, 10/5).

Additional coverage of the first lady’s tour of four African countries is available from ABC News, New York Times, and VOA News.

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