If the media did not loathe President Trump to the degree that it does, is there any doubt that Melania Trump would be THE style icon of the United States right now? By every right, the first fashion model to ever be First Lady should be on the cover of a different style magazine every week, the featured guest on every style-conscious television show, and the perfect embodiment of America’s (Gorgeous) Sweetheart – the beauty to Donald Trump’s beast. She’s soft-spoken, reserved, and she’s even an immigrant. There’s no reason the media should not be in love with her every move, except for the fact that she’s Trump’s wife. Except for the fact that the media is on a mission to destroy this president and everyone related to him by birth, blood, or friendship.
And so the only time we hear about Melania’s fashion choices are those times when the left-wing media can make some kind of scandal out of it. Oooh, she wore a “pussy-bow” to the debates. Ooh, she wore all white to the State of the Union – surely that means something unfavorable to the president! Ooh, she wore a green jacket that said “I don’t really care, do you?” She must hate little migrant children!
And now, according to CNN, she is championing white supremacy and colonialism by wearing a white hat to Africa.
After treating most of her African outfits with the usual backhanded, snide criticism one would expect from a writer who is half-fashion critic and half-political commentator, the CNN writer gets down to business:
But when she moved on to her next activity, a guided safari a half-hour later at the adjacent Nairobi National Park, the first lady had added an accessory to her get up: a pristine white pith helmet. […] With the hat, Trump’s outfit might have tipped the scales, moving from a practical accessory dangerously close to costume territory evocative of colonialists.
The hat was widely used by European militaries in their colonies throughout Africa and in India, according to Gentleman’s Gazette, and became a popular sun hat for civilian Europeans visiting or living in colonies in the 1930s. US President Theodore Roosevelt wore his pith helmet while on the Smithsonian-Roosevelt African Expedition after his presidency in 1909.
Matt Carotenuto, a historian and coordinator of African Studies at St. Lawrence University, compared the hat choice to “(showing) up on an Alabama cotton farm in a confederate uniform,” saying that Trump on Friday “(completed) the stereotype trifecta—elephants, orphans and even the pith helmet.”
Right. And if Melania had shown up in Africa wearing traditional tribal garb, these same writers would have been all over her for “cultural appropriation.” And if instead of riding elephants and kissing orphans, she had strolled along the beach, she would have been accused of having no interest at all in African culture. When you want to paint a woman (or a family, or an administration) as evil, and you have a readership willing to accept that premise, you don’t have to try very hard to find “proof.”
And CNN is certainly accustomed to not trying very hard.