First Lady Melania Trump Wore a Pith Helmet During Tour of Africa

First Lady Melania Trump is currently on her first international solo trip, visiting various countries in Africa over the course of a week, and it hasn’t been without a few raised eyebrows.

Once again, FLOTUS’ wardrobe—particularly, one white hat—has come under scrutiny. This morning in Kenya, she visited the Sneldrick Wildlife Elephant Project wearing a white button-down, khaki pants, and tall boots. By the afternoon, to go on a tour of Nairobi National Park, she had added another item to her outfit: a pith helmet.



Quickly, people across the globe pointed out the jarring image, as pith helmets have long been associated with colonial rule, particularly in Africa and parts of Asia and the Middle East, and are considered a symbol of oppression.

Over the course of her time in the White House, Mrs. Trump’s fashion has gotten a lot of attention, with the public reading into the meaning behind every wardrobe choice, even as FLOTUS declines to offer any. Still, many have followed it closely: The New York Times reports that the hashtag #FLOTUSinAfricaBingo, started by a political science professor in California, is tracking what could be interpreted as insensitive behavior, from outfits to activities, during FLOTUS’ trip.



The White House has yet to release a statement on the pith helmet from today’s visit to Kenya. The East Wing did release an official summary, though, with FLOTUS saying: “The hospitality that I received made the experience so special. I was awed by the beauty of Nairobi National Park and was very interested to learn more about Kenya’s conservation efforts. The Nest is a prime example of what it means to protect and nurture our next generation—seeing their efforts shape the lives of so many children is something I will never forget. I look forward to visiting again in the future.”

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