First Lady Melania Trump is officially taking her “Be Best” campaign to Africa, because of course she is.
Melania will be heading for her first major solo international trip on Monday. Over the next week, she will travel to Ghana, Malawi, Kenya, and Egypt to discuss the campaign, which she says has many concepts that can be applied globally.
Melania first introduced her “Be Best” campaign in May. At the time, she said it would be focused on addressing online bullying — leading many to question whether she had ever viewed her husband’s Twitter account — as well as the growing opioid crisis. Since then, it’s unclear what policies the initiative has actually undertaken.
For her upcoming trip, however, Melania plans to visit hospitals focusing on mothers and newborn care and learn more about the U.S. Agency for International Development, according to her office.
It sounds like a nice plan — if you completely ignore what her husband has done to demolish health care and foreign aid. Let’s also not forget the time he called African countries “shithole countries” and then defended his remark in front of the Nigerian president.
“When we win on November 8th and elect a Republican Congress, we will be able to immediately repeal and replace Obamacare,” Trump said a week before the election. “Have to do it.”
When the repeated push in Congress failed last summer, he then began chipping away at the health care law in other ways.
Last December, Trump signed into law a tax bill that repealed the ACA’s individual mandate, the provision of the law that requires every American to have health insurance or pay a penalty — thus insuring that there are enough healthy people in the market to keep premiums low.
In July, he froze a critical payment program that compensates insurers so that they are not only choosing to cover the healthiest Americans and forgetting about the rest. In August, he expanded short-term health plans’ duration from three months to one year, essentially creating a parallel marketplace, but without the same protections guaranteed under the ACA.
Health insurers have predicted that people will have to pay higher premiums in 2019 — as a direct result of Republican policies.
All of Trump’s health care policies are making it harder to get proper newborn and prenatal care.
The United States has the worst maternal mortality rate in the entire developed world. And black mothers die at more than three times the rate of white mothers. A week ago, former U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said it was “morally wrong” that the United States still does not have universal health care.
As regards to U.S. foreign aid, which Melania also wants to learn more about during her upcoming trip, Trump promised just last week that the United States would be cutting aid to the rest of the world.
“The United States is the world’s largest giver in the world, by far, of foreign aid. But few give anything to us. That is why we are taking a hard look at U.S. foreign assistance,” he said in a speech before the United Nations on Tuesday. “Moving forward, we are only going to give foreign aid to those who respect us and, frankly, are our friends.”
What things has Melania’s husband done that can help her “Be Best” tour in Africa?
He has capped the refugee program at a historic low, spread white nationalist talking points on South Africa, separated undocumented immigrant kids from their parents for months (some of whom were then drugged), praised police brutality in front of an audience of laughing cops, and banned immigration from two African countries (Libya and Somalia) as part of his Muslim ban.
The administration also is now ranking which countries are most and least deserving of aid. It remains to be seen where Ghana, Malawi, Kenya, and Egypt fall on that list.