Newly Assertive Melania Trump Puts The First Back In First Lady

Melania Trump’s move was notable not just for how high up and how decisively she struck.


In the White House this week, Trump’s the boss. Melania Trump, that is.

After two years of being American politics’s biggest enigma, the first lady has broken cover with her startling demand to get a senior adviser to the president thrown out.

First ladies often wield power — they have the ear of the president, and more, after all — but they rarely intervene so directly. And never publicly.

So Melania’s demand on Tuesday that deputy national security advisor Mira Ricardel step aside gave the White House a shake.

Donald Trump’s entire leadership style is based on him being the center of attention.

Suddenly, Washington’s focus was on his wife and her declaration that Ricardel “no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House.”

A little more than 24 hours passed before the answer came: Ricardel was leaving the White House for an unspecified job somewhere else.

“Unprecedented,” NBC television said.

“Extraordinary,” Trump’s favorite Fox News said.

Ricardel wasn’t some minor player. She was deputy to the powerful national security advisor John Bolton.

Her sin? Reportedly rowing with Melania Trump’s staff over seating allocations on the plane taking the first lady on an Africa tour in October, as well as being blamed for negative news coverage.

– ‘Jaw dropping’ –

“It’s not unusual” for a first lady to weigh in on a president’s staff, said Kate Andersen Brower, author of “First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies.”

She recalled a famous incident when Nancy Reagan got Ronald Reagan’s chief of staff Don Regan axed. But that was done behind the scenes.

“It is unprecedented for a first lady to issue a statement demanding that her husband fire someone. That is jaw dropping,” Brower said.

Melania Trump’s move was notable not just for how high up and how decisively she struck but the timing.

Bolton, one of the most powerful members of Trump’s inner circle, had reportedly been trying to shield his deputy. So Melania Trump waited until Bolton was safely away on a trip in Asia.

 – Who is Melania? –

Brower calls Melania Trump “private to the point of being reclusive.”

That has left others to define her, often based on absurdly tiny scraps of information.

Some claim to detect cryptic signals in which she seeks rescue from her marriage. Or that she is primed to rebel against a man who went through two marriages before finding the Slovenian former fashion model 23 years his junior.

This year, Melania Trump began putting some of her own markers down.

Even then, though, confusion reigned.

Her decision to wear a jacket inscribed with the phrase “I really don’t care do U?” while visiting detained immigrants on the Mexican border completely threw the public and media.

Speculation erupted that Melania was trolling her husband over his hardline anti-immigrant policies. Later she stated that she was actually aiming at hostile media coverage.

In October, she toured four African countries on a voyage ostensibly to promote her anti-bullying and child welfare campaign “Be Best.”

Clearly the trip clearly also served to bring her out of her husband’s shadow, but it still left many mysteries about the first lady’s views and character — a point neatly illustrated when she posed in front of the original Sphinx in Egypt.

– Cool v bombastic –

Returning from Africa, Melania Trump made a splash with a lengthy ABC television interview in October in which she continued to shape her public profile.

Pushing back against the idea of there being any division between her and Donald Trump, she said that infidelity allegations against him were not “a concern.”

She instead blamed the media for the controversies around her, calling herself “the most bullied person in the world.”

This week, she transformed her image again, looking not so much persecuted as powerful.

But questions are being raised about how a more assertive Melania Trump can work in an institution so thoroughly dominated by her husband.

CNN claimed Thursday that Trump was angered by the Ricardel row because “he was made to look like a boss-around husband.”

And Katherine Jellison, a historian specializing in first ladies at Ohio University, warns that Melania risks losing her best attribute — her coolness “in contrast to her husband’s bombastic personality.”

“She might end up being more of a hindrance than an asset to her husband,” Jellison said. “In the current environment, the Trump family can use all the good will they can get.”

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A White House Aide Picked A Fight With Melania Trump; The First Lady Won

The first lady privately said Mira Ricardel (right) was a corrosive influence.

A transoceanic personnel crisis that engulfed the National Security Council this week is partly rooted in a bureaucratic dispute over the seating arrangements aboard first lady Melania Trump’s plane to Africa last month during her maiden solo trip abroad.

As the East Wing prepared the flight manifest for the marquee trip, deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel became angry that seats on the first lady’s government jet were assigned to a larger-than-usual security entourage and a small press corps with none for Ricardel or another NSC staffer, according to current U.S. officals and others familiar with the trip and its aftermath.

Policy experts from the NSC and State Department were advised to fly separately and to meet the first lady’s party on the ground, a practice the State Department had often used, but Ricardel objected strenuously, those people said. She threatened to revoke NSC resources associated with the trip, meaning no policy staff would advise the first lady during her visits to Ghana, Kenya, Malawi and Egypt.

Bad blood between Ricardel and Melania Trump and her staff continued for weeks after the trip, with the first lady privately arguing that the NSC’s No. 2 official was a corrosive influence in the White House and should be dismissed. But national security adviser John Bolton rebuffed the first lady and protected his deputy, prompting the first lady’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, to issue an extraordinary statement to reporters Tuesday effectively calling for Ricardel’s firing.

“It is the position of the Office of the first lady that she no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House,” Grisham said of Ricardel in the statement.

After an uncomfortable day of limbo, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced Wednesday evening that Ricardel was leaving the White House.

“Mira Ricardel will continue to support the President as she departs the White House to transition to a new role within the Administration,” she said in a statement.

An NSC spokesman declined to elaborate.

The first lady’s decision to publicly advocate for the ouster of a senior member of her husband’s staff shows a new willingness on her part to weigh in on White House operations and marks a change from earlier in the Trump administration, when she repeatedly played down her role as an adviser to the president.


Melania Trump seen at the 2017 turkey pardoning ceremony at the White House.

It also comes as the president is mulling personnel changes, including possibly ousting Chief of Staff John Kelly and firing Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

Anita McBride, who was chief of staff to first lady Laura Bush, says Melania Trump’s move was a dramatic show of power.

“If anyone had questions about her willingness to exert her influence, they got their answer,” she said.

Ricardel’s dismissal also serves as a rebuke of Bolton, known for his sharp elbows and ability to navigate internal tensions, who refused for weeks to fire his hand-picked deputy and worked in the past day to protect her.

Soon after the first lady’s office issued its statement Tuesday, surprised senior White House aides walked to Ricardel’s office to see whether she was still there. She was, albeit confused.

Bolton, who was awakened in Asia in the middle of the night and told of the dustup, was soon on the phone, telling Ricardel to remain at her post, three administration officials said.

The White House was trying to find a soft landing place for Ricardel, but agencies including the Commerce Department, where she worked in the first year of the Trump administration, are hesitant to take her on because of her reputation, two senior administration officials said.

The first lady’s statement came after months of tension in the White House over Ricardel’s abrasive interactions with staffers in both the East Wing and the West Wing, according to several current and former staffers.

Melania Trump and Ricardel have never met, according to people familiar with each of them. But the first lady viewed the conservative operative, who was among the most senior women in the West Wing, as a toxic influence in the White House, to the point that she spoke to Trump about Ricardel after the Africa trip and authorized others to spread the word that Ricardel had overstepped the mark, several people familiar with recent events said.

A senior White House official said the first lady believed Ricardel was spreading false rumors about her office, including a misleading story that aides had arranged a $10,000 hotel stay in Egypt. Other White House aides said Ricardel belittled underlings, shouted at professional staff and was the most disliked aide in the West Wing.

Last weekend, according to administration officials, the first lady’s office again asked Bolton to oust Ricardel. Others, including Kelly, have wanted her gone for months, administration officials said, with little success in overcoming Bolton’s objections.

Bolton declined again – and went to Asia.

While the first lady’s public statement came as a surprise to many, including in the White House, Paolo Zampolli, a longtime friend of the Trumps’, said the move isn’t out of character for the first lady. “Our first lady is very strong, and she has the right to choose who she’s working with,” he said.

In past administrations, first ladies exerted similar or greater influence, but always behind the scenes. The most famous modern example is Nancy Reagan’s engineering the ouster of chief of staff Donald T. Regan, who had made the dire mistake of hanging up on her. While Nancy Reagan’s fingerprints were all over the firing, there were no statements from her office to that effect.

“You never hang up on the first lady. She can be your strongest ally. She can help you more than anybody realizes,” said Kenneth Duberstein, who fared better as chief of staff to Reagan.

Martha Washington, historian Carl Sferrazza Anthony noted, once wrote that she felt like a “state prisoner” because of protocol rules and a schedule set in part by her husband’s chief adviser, Tobias Lear. And there was no love lost between Mary Lincoln and Abraham Lincoln’s chief counselors, John Hay and John Nicolay, who referred to her as “the hellcat” behind her back.

Pat Nixon, Anthony says, chafed at top White House aides H.R. “Bob” Haldeman and John Erlichman for perceived offenses that included not giving her enough notice before travel and for not taking her own ambitious agenda seriously, Anthony said.

“It goes back so far, that what we’re really talking about is human nature and the problem of the boss’ wife,” he said.

Melania Trump has taken on a more public role recently, launching her anti-bullying campaign earlier this year and traveling to Africa in October.

She has made symbolic gestures that suggest she felt free to make her views plain and to disagree with her husband.

In a rare sit-down interview with ABC News last month, Mrs. Trump was asked whether it was true that she had more control over her notoriously volatile husband than anyone else. “Oh, I wish,” she said. “I give him my honest advice and honest opinions. And then he does what he wants to do.”

Melania Trump has privately complained about other current and former White House officials to her husband – Steve Bannon, chief among them – but has never issued such a public statement before.

The East Wing often does not approve its statements with the White House. Senior White House aides, including Kelly and Bolton, were not aware the statement was coming before it was issued Tuesday. Sanders had not seen the final statement, a senior administration official said.

Even Kelly, who wanted Ricardel gone, admitted to others the situation was handled poorly, and that the White House looked bad.

The controversy has added to the turmoil surrounding the White House following last week’s midterm elections where Republicans lost control of the House and maintained a slim Senate majority despite having a favorable electoral map this cycle. Last week Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions before heading over to Paris over the weekend for the commemoration of the end of World War I where he clashed with French President Emmanuel Macron.

“This shows it’s still a broken and dysfunctional White House. Maybe John Kelly has made a few trains run on time, but it’s clearly still broken,” said Chris Whipple, author of a 2017 book, “The Gatekeepers,” about White House chiefs of staff and West Wing operations.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Donald Trump’s Top Aide Mira Ricardel To Step Down, Day After Melania Called For Removal

Mira Ricardel is the White House deputy national security adviser. (Reuters)

Deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel, whose firing was sought by the office of first lady Melania Trump, will step down, the White House said Wednesday.

In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Ricardel is leaving her post and will “transition to a new role within the Administration.”

The news comes one day after the office of the first lady called for Ricardel’s firing, saying that “she no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House.”

National security adviser John Bolton tapped Ricardel in April to serve as his deputy, hailing her “track record of successfully managing teams and diverse organizations, as well as addressing complex issues.” Ricardel had previously worked as an undersecretary of commerce and had also held positions at the State and Defense departments.

Yet according to current and former officials, Ricardel had frequently clashed with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, berated people in meetings, yelled at professional staff and argued with the first lady.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly had sought for months to oust Ricardel, and Mattis had told advisers that he wants her out as well, the officials said.

Sanders said Wednesday that President Trump “is grateful for Ms. Ricardel’s continued service to the American people and her steadfast pursuit of his national security priorities.” It was not immediately clear what her next position within the administration would be.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Trump’s Top Aide Fired After Melania Calls For Her Removal

Mira Ricardel is the White House deputy national security adviser.


Mira Ricardel, the White House deputy national security adviser, was forced out of her job on Wednesday after President Donald Trump’s wife, Melania, said Ricardel did not deserve the honour of working for her husband.

Ricardel “will continue to support the president as she departs the White House to transition to a new role within the administration,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement. Sanders did not elaborate on what Ricardel’s new job would be.

Trump, after congressional elections last week in which his Republican Party saw its power eroded, is also preparing to oust Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen as part of a post-election Cabinet shakeup, several U.S. officials said.

Ricardel is a former Commerce Department official hand-picked by Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, to serve as his deputy.

She ran afoul of Melania Trump and her staff in negotiations over the first lady’s trip to Africa in October and the use of government resources for the trip, a senior administration official said.

Ricardel has also built a reputation in the White House for berating staff, several sources said.

Melania Trump’s office took the extraordinary step of issuing a statement on Tuesday saying that Ricardel should be ousted. While first ladies historically have been known to pressure their husbands over official business, they do not typically issue statements about it.

“It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honour of serving in this White House,” Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s spokeswoman, had said.

Bolton had fought behind the scenes to keep Ricardel from being forced out but ultimately lost the battle, two officials said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Donald Trump Could Remove Top Aide Who Feuded With Wife Melania

Sources said that Melania Trump explicitly asked the president to oust Mira Ricardel.


President Donald Trump is moving to replace his deputy national security adviser after she feuded with first lady Melania Trump, two sources familiar with the matter said, with a spokeswoman for the first lady leaving no doubt about where she stood on the matter.

The first lady complained to the president that she was unhappy with how she was being treated by Mira Ricardel, a former Boeing Coexecutive who worked on the Trump presidential campaign and was picked by National Security Adviser John Bolton to be his deputy earlier this year, two sources told Reuters.

Asked about the reports, Melania Trump’s spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham issued a extraordinarily frank statement.

“It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honour of serving in this White House,” Grisham said.

Sources said that Melania Trump explicitly asked the president to oust Ricardel after their dealings over the Africa trip “didn’t go well.” The other source said that Melania Trump felt that Ricardel tried to short-change the first lady in terms of U.S. government resources allocated to support her Africa tour.

The sources did not elaborate on the clash over resources.

The White House and the National Security Council (NSC) did not respond to requests for comment.

Ricardel could not be reached for comment. She had a prominent place standing to Trump’s right on Tuesday at a White House ceremony in the Roosevelt Room marking Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.

A source familiar with Ricardel’s White House performance said Ricardel also ran afoul of much of the NSC staff and “sort of alienated everyone” except for Bolton, the veteran conservative foreign policy expert who has been her immediate superior.

Bolton is currently travelling in Asia with Vice President Mike Pence.

One of the sources familiar with the White House intrigue said the tensions began building to a crisis point about a month ago and serious, but apparently unsuccessful, efforts were made to defuse the dispute.

Ricardel was also believed to have had a dislike of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, current and former officials have told Reuters.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Melania Trump Dismisses Reports Of Donald Trump’s Affairs, Says We Are Fine

“I’m a mother and a first lady, and I have important things to think about,” Melania Trump said.


Melania Trump dismissed Friday the widespread talk about her husband President Donald Trump’s alleged affairs with a porn star and others, saying she has “more important things to think about.”

In an interview with ABC News, excerpts of which were broadcast early Friday, the US first lady did not deny her husband’s alleged history of philandering.

But Melania Trump insisted she does not dwell on it.

Asked if she, like other presidents’ wives who have had to deal with unfaithful husbands, had felt strains on her marriage, she responded confidently that “it is not a concern and focus of mine.”

“I’m a mother and a first lady, and I have much more important things to think about and to do,” she added.

“I know people like to speculate and media like to speculate about our marriage.

“It’s not always pleasant, of course, but I know what is right and what is wrong and what is true and not true.”

Asked if she loved her husband, Melania Trump continued: “Yes, we are fine. It’s what media speculate, and it’s gossip. It’s not always correct stuff.”

ABC scored the rare interview of the Slovenia-born 48-year-old former model while she was in Africa last week.

Dressed in stretch jodhpurs with a pith helmet at her side — which drew criticism as a symbol of Europe’s colonial occupation of the continent — Trump gave a wry smile when asked about comments about her marriage from the president’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Giuliani had said in June that Melania Trump believes her husband’s denials about an affair a decade ago with stripper and porn movie star Stormy Daniels.

“Is that an accurate statement?” the ABC interviewer asked.

“I never talked to Mr Giuliani,” the first lady responded.

Asked why Giuliani would have made that claim about her, she retorted: “I don’t know. You need to ask him.”

ABC said the full interview will air later Friday.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Melania Trump Says There Are People In The White House She Doesn’t Trust

First lady Melania Trump said in an interview broadcast Thursday that there have been people in her husband’s White House whom she doesn’t trust, including some who still work there.

During the interview with ABC News, conducted during her recent solo trip to Africa, Trump also asserted that she is one of the most bullied people in the world, as she discusses her child-welfare initiative, Be Best, which includes a focus on combating cyberbullying.

Trump was asked by ABC’s Tom Llamas if the president has had people working for him that she didn’t trust.

“Yes,” she replied, adding that she has let her husband know.

“Some people, they don’t work there anymore,” Trump said.

Asked if there are still people in the administration she can’t trust, Trump said yes.

“It’s harder to govern,” the first lady said. “You always need to watch your back.”

Her comments come in the wake of an anonymous op-ed in the New York Times last month claiming there is a “resistance” within the Trump administration. The Times said the piece was written by a senior administration official, whose identity still has not become public.

During the interview, Llamas also asked Trump if she has the most control over her husband’s decisions of those in the White House.

“Oh, I wish,” she said, laughing.

“I give him my honest advice and honest opinions, and then he does what he wants to do,” Trump said.

During the interview, Trump also said, “I could say I’m the most bullied person on the world.”

Pressed on that assertion, she added: “One of them, if you really see what people are saying about me.”

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Melania Trump Wraps First Solo Trip Abroad In Egypt With Comments On Brett Kavanaugh

Melania Trump had a week-long visit to Ghana, Malawi, Kenya and Egypt. (File)

The visual was striking – Melania Trump stood in front of Egypt’s Great Sphinx, doing something she rarely does: Speaking about the news of the day.

Reporters traveling with her as she traversed Africa this week asked her about the news back home of the confirmation of the president’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and the allegations by Christine Blasey Ford that he sexually assaulted her.

“I’m glad that Dr. Ford was heard,” the first lady said. “I’m glad that Judge Kavanaugh was heard, FBI investigation was done, is completed, and [the] Senate voted.”

She spoke of sexual assault victims who have been speaking up, sounding a far more sympathetic note than President Trump, who has mocked Ford. “We need to help all the victims, no matter what kind of abuse they had,” she said. “I’m against any kind of abuse.”

The first lady, who so often comes across as sphinx-like herself and has often remained silent amid the din of her husband’s administration, was unusually outspoken.

“I don’t always agree what he tweets and I tell him that. I give him my honest opinion and honest advice. Sometimes he listens sometimes he doesn’t. I have my own voice and my opinions and it’s very important to me that I express how I feel.”

Asked if she has ever told him to put his phone down, she replied, “Yes!”

As she prepared to end her trip, she lamented the social-media mocking of a pith helmet she wore in Kenya – a sartorial choice many saw as a throwback to the colonial era – saying she wished people would “focus on what I do, not what I wear.”

But though she bemoaned the focus on appearances, Trump carefully curates her public image, and no more so than during the week-long visit to Ghana, Malawi, Kenya and Egypt.

The journey has produced a set of photos designed to burnish the first lady’s public profile and generate goodwill in a continent wary of her husband’s administration.

Trump, who often comes across as removed, rehearsed and aloof – a former fashion model perched on five-inch stilettos, reading from scripts – appeared more spontaneous and at ease as she visited tourist sites, schools, hospitals, and orphanages.

In Cairo, Trump was greeted by Egypt’s first lady, Entissar al-Sissi. The pair then went to the presidential palace to have tea, where Trump was also greeted by President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi.

The meetings were cordial, absent of any discussions of controversial topics such as President Donald Trump’s derogatory comments about African countries, according to local news reports.

By the afternoon, the first lady was on her way to see Egypt’s most famous treasures. Near the Pyramids complex, streets were being cleaned and spruced up ahead of her arrival, but hardly any locals were around.

At the base of the Sphinx, Trump observed a project of the United States Agency for International Development to protect the Sphinx and several of the country’s other important archaeological sites from rising groundwater.

During a visit Friday to a Kenyan orphanage, she swayed to a drum beat as she walked, holding hands with two children, as they crossed a flower-lined courtyard. She laughed as she fed a baby elephant from a bottle at a refuge in Kenya.

And she appeared visibly moved by her visit earlier in the week to Cape Coast Castle in Ghana, where slaves were held captive in dungeons before they were sent abroad on ships.

“It’s very emotional,” she said after spending time there and laying wreaths in the cells. “I will never forget the incredible experience and the stories that I heard.”

But aside from escaping Washington’s tumult and softening her own image, what did she accomplish on her first major solo trip abroad?

She seemed to pass the first test of any diplomatic mission: show up and show good will.

Foreign policy experts, though, say the trip did little to reassure Africans that the Trump administration, which has largely ignored the continent and has proposed budget cuts to programs offering aid, would make them a priority.

“She came, like many U.S. first ladies, to hold children, to say the right thing – and she has done that,” said Boubacar N’Diaye, professor of Africana studies at the College of Wooster. “I’m sure in her heart she means those things – but that is very different from real policies that the government cares about.”

Others saw the visit as a gratifying gesture and said it raised her profile, even as it was unclear what effect, if any, it would have in terms of U.S. policy.

“My take from the visit is very positive,” said Edward Saweregera, Malawi’s ambassador to the United States. The first lady was warmly received, he said, and the fact that “Malawi was one of the chosen few countries” she toured underscored the U.S.- Malawi bond. Most people in Malawi didn’t know much about Melania Trump before she arrived, so “it was a chance to get to know her,” he said.

As for any impact on policy, the ambassador added, “That I will leave to the U.S. government.”

Trump’s trip was a low-key one that generated few big headlines, a fact that had much to do with the news cycle at home, which was dominated by the Kavanaugh news. And her schedule, including visits to a hospital, a school and American embassies, was relatively light.

Judd Devermont, Africa program director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that judging from news coverage in African countries she visited, “interest in her trip ranged from mild interest to indifference.”

Before her final story, the first lady spoke publicly only a few times, and then very briefly.

“Thank you for educating them to be best,” she said after touring a school in Malawi, echoing the name of her “Be Best” initiative aimed at children’s well-being. “And to grow up into educated adults for generations to come.”

She avoided, as some quipped, the elephant in the room. She told reporters that her husband’s derogatory comments about African nations (he called them “shithole countries” and also wondered whether Nigerians would return to “their huts” after coming to the U.S. on visas) had not come up during her visit.

Lauren Wright, the author of “On Behalf of the President” and a politics lecturer at Princeton, said Melania Trump could have done more to smooth over the president’s slurs, and the fact that she chose not to seems significant. “What would help would be is if she directly addressed her husband’s comments about the continent,” she said. “She doesn’t clean up president’s messes – she does her own thing. She’s made it clear that she’s not there to rescue him, even though she’s the only one who can do it.”

Even Melania Trump’s husband reacted to the trip as if it were something he watched on a television set on mute. “Our country’s great first lady, Melania, is doing really well in Africa,” he tweeted on Wednesday. “The people love her, and she loves them! It is a beautiful thing to see.”

But perhaps the trip will spur Melania Trump to find her voice. In addition to the interview in Egypt, she is scheduled for a rare televised sit-down to air Friday on ABCs “20/20.” The network is promising a “wide-ranging” interview between the first lady and Tom Llamas, the weekend “World News Tonight” anchor who traveled with her on the Africa trip.

Paolo Zampolli, a longtime friend of the Trumps, says the first lady might make more such trips, possibly to Central and South America next. The trip to the African nations served to “fly the American flag there.”

And it remains to be seen whether, up on her return, that the first lady will press the president to take more of an interest in the countries she visited – and whether he will listen.

Even though the Trump administration loosened regulations to allow big-game hunters to import tusks, hides and other parts of animals, and her stepsons, Donald Jr. and Eric are hunters, Melania Trump visited a big-game conservation site.

“She thinks animals are precious and she doesn’t like big-game hunting,” spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Melania Trump Shoved By Playful Baby Elephant In Kenya


US First Lady Melania Trump visited Kenya on Friday, on her third leg of a solo tour of Africa. While feeding elephants at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi, one of calves moved suddenly advancing towards her causing the former model to loose footing. She chuckled and brushed aside the incident.

She was feeding the animals and gave a baby elephant a bottled formula.

Dressed in a white shirt and beige pants, the US first lady was all smiles for the camera while at the Wildlife Trust, famed for its work rescuing the orphans from the wild.

Ms Trump then took to the Nairobi National Park and will later visit an orphanage and watch a play.

Melania Trump, who is in Africa to promote her children’s welfare programme, began her trip in Ghana, where she visited mothers and their newborns.

She then made a brief stop in Malawi where she toured a primary school.

Donald Trump, her husband had tweeted on his wife’s trip saying:

The First Lady’s visit comes during a tumultuous time in Washington when the Trump administration is dealing with sexual assault allegations against Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick.

Donald Trump had earlier in an infamous comment referred to African nations as “shithole countries.”

Earlier, when Ms Trump landed in Malawi, she was greeted with “Not A Shithole” signs.

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