Melania Trump, the first lady who is known to shy away from the spotlight, embarked on her first major solo international trip this week.
While visiting Ghana, Malawi, Kenya and Egypt, Mrs. Trump plans to weave in her child-focused “Be Best” campaign. She will be navigating a continent that has felt pressure from President Trump’s words and policies, from immigration to aid distribution.
Mrs. Trump’s trip comes at a chaotic time in Washington, as her husband faces a bitter fight over his Supreme Court nominee and partisan rancor weeks before the midterm elections.
Mrs. Trump landed at Kotoka International Airport in Accra, Ghana, on Tuesday morning, greeted by a troop of cultural dancers, children waving American and Ghanaian flags, and Rebecca Akufo-Addo, the first lady of Ghana. Lillian Naa Adai Sai, 8, presented Mrs. Trump with a bouquet of flowers.
Mrs. Trump’s motorcade drew onlookers from the busy streets of Accra as it made its way to Greater Accra Regional Hospital. The first lady handed out teddy bears to children and visited the maternity ward, accompanied by Ms. Akufo-Addo.
Two hours before Mrs. Trump arrived at the Emintsimadze Palace in Cape Coast on Wednesday, several of her aides delivered traditional libations, meant to help the chiefs of the Fante people, who primarily live in Ghana, communicate with their ancestors.
Osabarima Kwesi Atta II, the paramount chief of the Cape Coast traditional area, welcomed Mrs. Trump and granted official permission for her visit to Cape Coast Castle. The reception, attended by chiefs from the surrounding areas adorned in gold and kente cloth, was held at the palace’s Obama Hall, which was named for President Barack Obama after he visited in 2009.
Alongside crashing waves, Mrs. Trump toured Cape Coast Castle, a somber memorial site that formerly housed Ghanaian slaves before they were transported to the Americas by the British.
“This is a very special place,” Mrs. Trump said when asked about her visit. “I will never forget the incredible experience and the stories that I heard from the gentleman.”
“What happened so many years ago, it’s really a tragedy,” she added.