WASHINGTON — First Lady Melania Trump arrived in Malawi Thursday, the second leg in her four-nation visit to Africa that marks her first solo trip overseas since her husband assumed the presidency.
After being greeted by Malawi’s first lady, Gertrude Maseko, Trump then traveled to Chipala Primary School, where she greeted children and educators and distributed soccer balls emblazoned with “Be Best,” her anti-bullying campaign in the U.S.
The visit followed her first stop in Ghana, which included a tour of a former slave outpost, Cape Coast Castle, on Wednesday.
After viewing the dungeon and the “door of no return,” where slaves expected to be shipped on the Atlantic trade route initially entered, Trump described the experience as “very emotional” before laying a wreath.
“The dungeons that I saw, it’s really something that people should see and experience,” she told reporters.
On Tuesday, she visited children in a hospital in the capital, Accra, where she distributed baby blankets and teddy bears emblazoned with “Be Best,” the slogan of her campaign for children. She also had tea at the presidential palace with Ghana’s first lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo.
Trump is scheduled to visit Kenya and Egypt before completing her one-week trip.
Underscoring the trip are lingering concerns over the Trump administration’s treatment of Africa.
The president reportedly described immigrants from Haiti and Africa as coming from “s***thole countries” earlier this year.
Trump denied using the specific phrase, but acknowledged that he used tough language.
In addition, the administration has called for steep cuts in United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funding, which benefits many African nations.
Congress has declined the requested cuts.
During remarks in New York last week, the first lady emphasized the importance of USAID’s work overseas.
“I am pleased to be working closely with USAID as I prepare for my first major international trip to Africa,” Trump said. “By working with developing countries around the world to help them with their journey to self-reliance, USAID’s work embodies much of what ‘Be Best’ stands for.”
The organization also marked the donation of 1.4 million textbooks to Malawi during the visit.
While Trump has been largely well received, her husband’s reported comments did spring up at one point.
According to reporters accompanying the first lady, as she traveled to Malawi’s ambassador’s residence, one protester held a sign stating “Welcome to Malawi. #NOTAS***HOLE!”
Day two in #Ghana was so impactful. My visit to Cape Coast castle was a solemn reminder of a time in our history that should never be forgotten. Thank you to Chief Osabarima Kwesi Atta & the chieftains for the warm welcome & cultural ceremony. #FLOTUSinAfrica2018 pic.twitter.com/pdf9yrmQL8
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) October 3, 2018