With the Great Sphinx of Gaza looming in the background, first lady Melania Trump weighed in on a number of topics Saturday, including the media obsession with her wardrobe, Brett Kavanaugh's qualifications for the Supreme Court and her view of his chief accuser's testimony, as well as her confession that sometimes she lobbies the tweeter-in-chief to put down his phone.
Trump spoke to reporters in Egypt at the end of a four-country trip to Africa.
As reporters peppered her with questions, the first lady said she thinks Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is “highly qualified,” but she also had a positive take on his primary accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, saying: “I’m glad Dr. Ford was heard.”
Asked if she believed Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of sexual abusing her when they were teenagers, the first lady said, "I will move on that... I think we need to help all the victims .. I am against any kind of abuse or violence."
On her view of her husband's sometimes sharp or derogatory comments, particularly on Twitter, she said, "I don't always agree what he tweets, and I give him my honest advice... It's very important that I express what I feel."
Asked if she had ever asked the president to put down his phone, she said, with a smile: "Yes."
On other topics, Trump said she wishes people would “focus on what I do, not what I wear."
In the past, her clothing choice has sparked widespread comment, notably when she wore a coat emblazoned with the slogan "I really don't care, do u?" while boarding an Air Force plane to visit migrant children at the Texas-Mexico border in June.
This week, some eyebrows were raised when she wore a pith helmet — a symbol of British colonial rule across Africa – during a brief safari in Kenya.
Melania Trump’s solo trip to Ghana, Malawi, Kenya and Egypt captivated international aid and global health advocates, who have otherwise watched in frustration as the Trump administration moved to defund and deprioritize longstanding American programs aimed at strengthening Africa and solidifying U.S. interests across the developing world.
The message of the trip, she said, is: "We care — and we want to show the world we care."
The African sojourn also follows sharp criticism of the president after he was quoted in an Oval Office meeting in January with several lawmakers as referring to Haiti, El Salvador and African countries as "s----thole countries" when discussing immigration.
Asked if the report of Trump's comments came up during her trip, she said, "Nobody discussed that with me and I never heard him saying those comments, that was an anonymous source and I will leave it with that."
Trump's visit to Cairo included a planned visit with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and his wife, first lady Entissar Mohameed Amer, and the visit to the pyramids to highlight U.S.-backed preservation efforts there.
The U.S. Agency for International Development has been working with the Egyptian government for the past several years on a project to lower groundwater levels to prevent additional damage to the landmarks. Saline content in the water can erode their foundations.