PRACTICALLY SPEAKING: As any politician can attest, setting the stage is essential to a public appearance. While First Lady Melania Trump is once removed in terms of being an elected official, she made today’s visit to Cairo — the finale of a four African nation tour, a cinematic one with a visit to the Pyramids in Ginzi.
Her arrival in Egypt began with some of the ingredients of the standard airport meet-and-greet: schoolchildren, her fellow First Lady Entissar el-Sisi and a red carpet. But what was the third of four diplomatic entrances this week bordered on silent, according to a press pool. No music played and “very tough security” kept a close eye. In addition, police manned rooftops as the motorcade made its way through the city streets. Although work weeks can reel into Cairo as many as 25 million people, traffic was not an issue, partially due to Saturday being a holiday, the pool said. Media types were advised to leave their electronic devices behind, when the caravan stopped at the presidential palace. There, Trump and Egypt President Abdul Fattah el-Sisi met behind closed doors for less than an hour.
Activities included paying a visit to officials at the U.S. Embassy before the main attraction — the First Lady’s 45-minute tour of the Pyramids. Her go-to stylist Hervé Pierre’s advance work requires considerable research of customs, climate conditions, protocol and notable landmarks at each destination. Trump used this particular camera-ready moment to say a few words, including that she doesn’t always agree with the President’s tweets. She also proved she, too, can be a repeat performer, pairing a sand-silk colored Ralph Lauren jacket with wide-legged ivory silk pants, an ivory silk Chanel blouse with a black ribbon and ballet flats from the French label. Trumpeting her own practicality, the First Lady favored Chanel items that she has owned since last year. Lauren, whose company recently celebrated 50 years, was also her designer of choice for attire Friday, when visiting an ivory orphanage for elephants and one for children in Kenya, where she stirred some controversy by going on a safari wearing a pith helmet — headgear that some observers said smacked of failure to recognize that it was a symbol of when the nation was under brutal British colonial rule.
In her remarks, Trump also “seemed a bit irritated,” when asked about the white pith helmet, according to the press pool. Trump said, “You know what? We just completed an amazing trip. We went to Ghana. We went to Malawi. We went to Kenya. Now here we are in Egypt. I want to talk about my trip and not what I wear. That’s very important, what I do, what we’re doing with USAID, my initiatives and I wish people would focus on what I do, not what I wear.”
Trump said she never heard the President saying those comments, referring to calling African countries s–t holes.
She also referred to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh as “highly qualified” and said, “I’m glad Dr. [Christine Blasey] Ford was heard, I’m glad Judge Kavanaugh was heard, that the FBI investigation was done, completes and the Senate voted.” Asked if she believed Ford, the First Lady said, “I will move on that.”
For the touchdown in Cairo, Trump chose a green printed dress from Chufy, Sofia Sanchez de Betak’s label. This particular “Memories of Kenya” style was meant to be an homage in a few directions, Pierre said. The Argentinian-born, New York-based influencer, fashion consultant and designer behind Chufy is all about travel, having written an Assouline book and drawing from different ports of call for her fashion creations.
With considerable ground to cover, Trump kept her feet on the ground with noticeably lower-heel heights during a few of the stops in Ghana, Malawi, Kenya and Cairo. Her usual red-soled Christian Louboutin sky-high stilettos were absent. But some Manolo Blahnik heels made the journey.
As Pierre noted last week, he and the First Lady are always mindful of respecting the host nation’s beliefs and customs. He said, “At a certain point, we just use our common sense and choose what is pretty for the occasion. Of course, she wants to be appropriate and respectful of the culture.”
Having exited Egypt, Trump was expected back in Washington, D.C., Sunday.