WASHINGTON — In September, eight months into her tenure as first lady of the United States, first lady Melania Trump will make her first official solo trip to a foreign country.
Trump announced in a statement Thursday that she will lead the US delegation to this year’s Invictus Games, being held in Toronto, Canada, September 23-30.
“In just two short years, the Invictus Games have allowed thousands of injured and wounded servicemen and women from many different countries to participate in adaptive sports competitions — something that should be lauded and supported worldwide. I am honored by the opportunity to represent our country at this year’s games,” Trump said.
The Invictus Games were started in 2014 by Britain’s Prince Harry, who was inspired to build global awareness for servicemen and women injured in combat. During the games, hundreds of participants compete in para-Olympic style activities, such as swimming, cycling, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby. Seventeen different countries are taking part in this year’s challenge.
“I was heartened by the great success of the inaugural Invictus Games that took place in London in 2015, and the second games in Orlando, Florida, last year,” said the first lady in her statement.
Trump will be following in the footsteps of former first lady Michelle Obama, who, with Prince Harry, kicked off the 2016 Invictus Games in the host city of Orlando.
Former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama made a video ahead of the games, challenging Prince Harry to “bring it,” when he and his British team arrived to compete. In response, Harry made his own “bring it” video, with his grandmother, the Queen of England.
No word yet on any jovial trash talk from Melania Trump to the prince.
Trump has already made visits to several countries, albeit accompanying her husband. In May, she visited Saudi Arabia, Israel, Belgium and Italy, and earlier this month, she was by the President’s side in Poland and Germany. Just two weeks ago, she made a quick trip to France for Bastille Day celebrations.
But this journey to Canada will be a first step for Trump on her own, and one relatively early in her husband’s administration. Michelle Obama waited 15 months before her first international trip, which was to Mexico. It was 16 months before Laura Bush ventured overseas officially as first lady, taking a 10-day trip to France, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
Trump has been in the spotlight more this week after spending time in New York City and Bedminster, New Jersey.
On Tuesday evening, she accompanied the President to a rally in Ohio, introducing him before a crowd of several thousand. Wednesday, according to a White House source, the first lady held a full day of meetings with her East Wing staff.