Melania Trump off to do damage control

US first lady Melania Trump greets children during a visit to a hospital in Accra, Ghana, on Tuesday
US first lady Melania Trump greets children during a visit to a hospital in Accra, Ghana, on Tuesday
Image: Reuters

US first lady Melania Trump kicked off her first major solo trip in Ghana’s capital Accra on Tuesday, aiming to cast a positive light on her embattled husband’s administration.

A relaxed-looking Trump smiled and waved as she stepped off a flight from Washington to be met on the red carpet by her Ghanaian counterpart, Rebecca Akufo-Addo.

She beamed as she was welcomed by a troupe of traditional drummers and dancers. “Thank you very much,” she said with a smile.

The former model, whose choice of clothing is keenly watched, changed from a safari-inspired departure outfit of suede trench coat and leopardprint heels to a red-and-white striped dress with white pumps by the time she arrived in West Africa.

She is scheduled to visit a hospital in Accra to learn about newborn health and also have tea with Rebecca Akufo-Addo at the presidential residence, Jubilee House.

The 48-year-old is promoting her Be Best initiative, her official agenda unveiled in May designed to improve children’s wellbeing.

Her office said it would also showcase the work of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), even at a time when her husband’s government is looking to slash US aid across the world.

But unlike her predecessors, her visit will be followed closely to see if she can build bridges after the president reportedly dismissed Africa as a collection of “sh*thole countries”.

In addition to Ghana, she is due to visit Malawi, Kenya and Egypt before returning to Washington on Sunday.

The enigmatic US first lady has typically stayed out of the spotlight since her husband became president but has made rare public appearances.

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