Melania Trump forges ahead as first lady with Africa trip

In this Sept. 26, 2018, photo, first lady Melania Trump leaves the podium after speaking during a reception at the United States mission to the United Nations. Pushing forward in her role as first lady, Trump is schedule to leave Monday on her way to Africa on her first big international trip without the president and plans to make child well-being the focus of a five-day, four-country tour partly designed to engender goodwill toward the United States in each corner of the vast and impoverished continent. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

WASHINGTON (AP) Melania Trump is pushing ahead in her role as first lady by going on her first big international trip without the president.

She departs Washington on Monday afternoon on a seven-day trip that will take her to the African nations of Ghana, Malawi, Kenya and Egypt. Child welfare is to be the main focus.

But her first extended turn on the world stage outside the shadow of President Donald Trump could still be complicated by her husband, even though he’ll be thousands of miles and an ocean away. Trump has upset some African leaders with impolite comments about the continent, including using a vulgarity to describe some countries.

One Africa expert says Mrs. Trump may end up having to also play the role of fence-mender as a result.