MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
While abundant of the country was focused on the Brett Kavanaugh acceptance action aftermost week, aboriginal adult Melania Trump was in Africa. She’s aloof aback – her aboriginal big abandoned cruise overseas. She went on a carnival in Kenya. She chock-full by the pyramids in Egypt. She additionally visited babies in a hospital in Ghana and schoolchildren in Malawi. CNN anchorman Kate Bennett was on that trip, traveling with the aboriginal lady, and she joins me actuality now. Hi, Kate.
KATE BENNETT: Hello.
KELLY: So to be clear, this was an official trip. She was traveling as aboriginal lady. U.S. taxpayers were basement the bill for this.
BENNETT: Exactly. This was her aboriginal big array of amicableness tour, so to speak.
KELLY: And what was the agenda?
BENNETT: Well, I mean, she said she was there to advance the bulletin about Be Best, which is her initiative, and the abundance of children. And she additionally formed with the USAID on some of the programs they’re putting out.
KELLY: USAID – the U.S. Agency for International Development.
BENNETT: Exactly. So she partnered with them on this trip. You know, it was additionally a cultural tour. She capital to apprentice added about tourism in Egypt, for example. It was, again, array of a broad-based initiative, but she – that was her undertaking.
KELLY: Was this awkward because her bedmate is accepted for his “America First” agenda, for absent to carve adopted aid? And there she is on a cruise highlighting all the acceptable that American adopted aid does. Was that awkward?
BENNETT: Well, it’s that aberrant array of bond amid the aboriginal adult and what she does and the admiral and what he does, right? This is array of, like, aloft eyebrows – and additionally aloof activity to Africa, that beforehand this year he was accused of conceivably adage some aspersing comments about. What she capital to do was say, actuality is what this alignment is accomplishing in animosity of account cuts. Just, you know, the abstraction is to advice these countries get off of the charge for our aid. So absolutely it didn’t feel awkward back we were there. But advanced of time, it was a head-scratcher.
KELLY: Her apparel got a lot of advantage on this trip, as it generally does. And Mrs. Trump advised in on that. She said she wishes bodies would abdicate talking about her clothes.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
MELANIA TRUMP: I ambition bodies would focus on what I do, not what I wear.
KELLY: But Kate Bennett, it’s about like she wants us to allocution about what she’s cutting – I mean, the assembly helmet.
BENNETT: The assembly helmet I anticipate was article that was aloof an blank in agreement of what she was wearing, that it wasn’t activity to be…
KELLY: Describe what she was wearing.
BENNETT: So she wore a actual array of out-of-Africa, I kept calling it, -esque accouterments on the carnival in Kenya and included, for the carnival portion, a white assembly helmet, which for Africans brings up a time in their history that isn’t necessarily article that they like to recall.
KELLY: Nineteenth aeon colonialism…
BENNETT: Colonialism, exactly.
KELLY: …Being disqualified by alfresco forces, yeah.
BENNETT: Exactly. So we (laughter) – we try to attending at these non-verbal cues. We try to attending into what she’s wearing, what she’s saying, what she’s tweeting. Is she cutting a white clothing to the accompaniment of the Union because she’s sending a bulletin about suffrage? Probably not, but we accept to appraise all of those things with this actual clandestine aboriginal lady.
KELLY: You are, if I’m not mistaken, the alone anchorman accoutrement the East Wing, the aboriginal lady, full-time. How do you anticipate about that? What is the account amount in advertisement on the aboriginal lady?
BENNETT: You know, bodies say, well, what do you alike do if you awning the aboriginal lady? She doesn’t do annihilation (laughter). And that’s array of an absorbing argument. She does. She does it with a abate staff, with a abate footprint, with not necessarily acceptable agendas that added aboriginal ladies accept had.
For me, it’s been absolutely absorbing aggravating to able the cipher of this woman who ironically Maureen Dowd alleged the Slovenian Sphinx. (Laughter) So actuality we were in advanced of the Sphinx, attractive at the Sphinx. So in that way, it is actual interesting. And I anticipate that we can’t – I can’t address what is she thinking. But at the aforementioned time, we charge to get facts out there. We charge to accept her. And this cruise I anticipate actual abundant helped that.
KELLY: Thank you, Kate.
BENNETT: Thank you.
KELLY: That’s Kate Bennett. She covers the aboriginal adult for CNN. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
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