Melania Trump granted reporters a rare five-minute interview while visiting Egypt on Saturday as part of her tour in Africa. Standing in front of the Great Sphinx, the first lady fielded questions on Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, and reminded reporters that she has her “own voice.”
When asked about President Donald Trump’s Twitter habits and if she ever asks him to put away his phone, she gave an emphatic, “Yes!”
She also explained her dynamic with her husband. “I give him my honest opinion and honest advice. Sometimes he listens, sometimes he doesn’t,” she said. “I have my own voice and my opinions, and it’s very important to me that I express how I feel.”
On Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation, Trump gave a comment that toed the line between summary and opinion, saying she was “glad” both sides were heard. “I’m glad Dr. Ford was heard, I’m glad Judge Kavanaugh was heard, that the FBI investigation was done, completed, and that the Senate voted,” she said.
But when asked if she believed Blasey Ford, Trump deferred the question, saying, “I will move on that.”
Trump also reportedly became irritated when asked about the mild uproar that arose when she wore a white pith helmet, a type of hat commonly associated with British colonialism, while on a safari in Kenya. She said she wishes people would focus on what she does rather than what she wears, although she has used her outfits to speak for her in the past.
To emphasize her point, Trump listed the places she visited on her trip. She did not specify, however, what she had been up to at each stop, or how it benefits the Be Best campaign, which was supposedly the goal of her tour of Africa.
“We went to Ghana. We went to Malawi, we went to Kenya, now here we are in Egypt,” she said. “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.”
Trump has largely been a cipher throughout her time as first lady, and rarely speaks out. But she has diverged from the president before, most notably when she publicly spoke out in support of LeBron James after her husband said making James look smart “isn’t easy to do.”
So perhaps, moving forward, Trump will be using her voice a little more.