First Lady Melania Trump wore a white pith helmet on Friday while on a safari during her trip to Kenya.
The first lady’s first solo trip included visits to four African countries in five days — including Malawi, Kenya, Ghana, and Egypt — but liberals latched onto her choice of headgear during a visit to Nairobi National Park in Nairobi, Kenya to criticize her for wearing a supposed symbol of colonial rule.
“Pith helmets — so-called because they are made of the material sholapith – were worn by European explorers and imperial administrators in Africa, parts of Asia and the Middle East in the 19th century before being adopted by military officers, rapidly becoming a symbol of status – and oppression,” the Guardian reported.
Mrs. Trump received plenty of Twitter backlash for her headgear:
For some, the sight of Melania Trump on a Kenyan safari wearing a white pith helmet — a common symbol of European colonial rule — was a glaring mistake https://t.co/p7dq5ZpGIr
— The New York Times (@nytimes) October 5, 2018
Melania Trump went on a safari in Kenya wearing a pith helmet – a symbol of European colonial rule across Africa pic.twitter.com/JSvNghTs3p
— Hamza Mohamed (@Hamza_Africa) October 6, 2018
Melania Trump wearing a pith helmet on her trip to “Africa” is more than a silly sartorial choice. It’s a reflection of her outdated understanding of Africa. (Also, she was photographed in safari attire multiple times on this trip.) #FLOTUSinAfricaBingo https://t.co/aCnkOnPBF8
— kim yi dionne (@dadakim) October 5, 2018
— Matt Carotenuto (@matt_carotenuto) October 5, 2018
Nothing says cultural understanding better than an accessory widely associated with colonial rule. Classy. https://t.co/b6SMDmCd3T
— Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister) October 5, 2018
New York Times White House Correspondent Katie Rogers reported via Twitter that Mrs. Trump was “clearly irritated” about being asked about the helmet, responding with: “You know what? We just completed an amazing trip.”
FLOTUS was clearly irritated with a question about her white pith helmet. “You know what? We just completed an amazing trip.” Then she slayed the shit out of this pyramid shot as dramatic music played. pic.twitter.com/melvavZ83r
— Katie Rogers (@katierogers) October 6, 2018
She then said, “I wish people would focus on what I do, not what I wear.”
When Asked About Pith Helmet, FLOTUS Responds: ‘Focus On What I Do, Not What I Wear’ https://t.co/MTPQM7A3R7
— NPR (@NPR) October 6, 2018