Once again, Melania Trump is coming under fire for an outfit selection.
This time, the criticism is for wearing a pith helmet, which many say has direct ties to European imperialism and colonialism, while on a safari in Kenya.
According to Quartzy, the pith helmet was often worn by the British soldiers who colonised Africa and India in the 19th century. This means that wearing one, as Trump did, might be seen as a lack of understanding about African culture at best, and as a symbol of oppression at worst.
“That pith helmet you have carried was used by colonialists during the dark days. Doesn’t sit well with us Africans,” Nairobi resident Pauline Mwalo wrote on Twitter. “Who advised you?”
At this point, sartorial controversies are, ahem, old hat for Trump. In June, the first lady prompted public outrage for wearing a jacket that said “I really don’t care. Do U?” while boarding a plane to visit detained migrant children. She also raised eyebrows when she wore a pink Gucci “pussy bow” blouse to an October 2016 presidential debate shortly after a recording of her husband bragging about sexually assaulting women leaked, in which he said it was easy for him to “grab ‘em by the pussy.”
In fact, Trump has had so many clothing-based PR snafus that some have suggested her wardrobe is sometimes used as a distraction technique by the Trump administration when there are more pressing things going on. So, should that be the case here, let us not be distracted: thanks to a white woman, Judge Brett Kavanaugh has been confirmed as a Supreme Court justice, President Donald Trump has mocked a survivor of sexual assault, and Ivanka Trump continues to be complicit in her father’s administration.
Also, that helmet? It probably wasn’t the best choice.