Where is Melania Trump? First lady, Queen Rania visit DC girls charter school

First lady Melania Trump toured a Washington, D.C. charter school with Jordan's Queen Rania on Wednesday, during the queen's first White House visit in 2017.

As U.S. President Donald Trump and Jordan's King Abdullah II held a meeting and joint White House press conference, Melania Trump and Queen Rania toured Excel Academy, where they said hello to students in classrooms and participated in a listening session. Excel Academy is DC's first and only public charter school for girls, located in southeast Washington.

Upon entering the pre-K-through-eighth-grade school, the former model and Jordanian royal were reportedly greeted by students holding bouquets of flowers.

"That's so beautiful, thank you," Melania Trump said, hugging student Danielle Chatman.

Trump and Queen Rania visited an 8th grade art class and 5th grade science class, where students were respectively working on watercolor paintings and dissecting owl pellets.

"We believe that in educating a girl, we educate a family, we educate a community," school CEO Deborah Lockhart said of Excel Academy.

According to CNN's Betsy Klein, the first lady and queen appeared "friendly and comfortable together." At one point, the queen sat in an elevated chair, at which Trump laughed, saying, "You got very tall."

"We believe that in educating a girl, we educate a family, we educate a community," school CEO Deborah Lockhart said of Excel Academy.

According to CNN's Betsy Klein, the first lady and queen appeared "friendly and comfortable together." At one point, the queen sat in an elevated chair, at which Trump laughed, saying, "You got very tall."

Queen Rania has visited with four American first ladies in Washington since King Abdullah came to power in 1999. She recently wrote a fond farewell message to former first lady Michelle Obama upon her family's departure from the White House.

President Trump shakes hands with King Abdullah of Jordan, as Mrs. Trump and Queen Rania look on. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times



Melania Trump Meets Queen Rania, as White House Grapples With Crises

A billionaire, a queen and an American first lady walked into a public charter school on Wednesday, collecting bouquets, examining owl pellets and hugging students amid the rapid-fire clicking of cameras.

The visit to Excel Academy, an all-girls charter school, by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Queen Rania of Jordan and Melania Trump, the first lady, was meant to emphasize the Trump administration’s stance on school choice. But it was also part of a day of photo ops intended to cast a softer lens on a presidential administration grappling with several international crises, and provide another glimpse of a first lady whose sporadic appearances in Washington have revealed relatively little about her own leadership style.

A meeting at the White House

Earlier in the day, Mrs. Trump and Queen Rania stood behind President Trump and King Abdullah II of Jordan at the White House. It was just one item on Wednesday’s agenda, which was also packed with a news conference to condemn a chemical attack in Syria and meetings to discuss brokering a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

At the news conference in the Rose Garden, Mr. Trump said his position on the civil war in Syria and his opinion of the country’s president, Bashar al-Assad, had changed. Mr. Trump did not offer details on any shift in policy.

King Abdullah is viewed as a moderate voice among Arab leaders and has established himself as a willing partner to Mr. Trump. This was his second visit to Washington since Inauguration Day.


Melania Trump, Queen Rania visit DC public charter school

First lady Melania Trump and Jordan's Queen Rania traveled Wednesday to an impoverished area of Washington to visit DC's first and only public charter school for girls in pre-K through eighth grade, where they participated in a listening session and visited classrooms.

The model and the monarch visited Excel Academy located in southeast Washington, and were greeted by students bearing bouquets of flowers.

"That's so beautiful, thank you," the first lady said as she gave student Danielle Chatman a hug.

The down-to-earth Queen engaged with the listening session participants frequently, asking a parent on the panel where she was from, and inquiring about the school's mission regarding building life skills.

"We believe that in educating a girl, we educate a family, we educate a community," school CEO Deborah Lockhart said, discussing the school's social services, extracurricular and special needs programs.

The sunny charter school was filled with colorful, student-designed feminist posters, some reading, "Women are Intellectual Queens," "Sisterhood is not a destination, but a journey," and "I am woman, hear me roar."

The duo stopped by an 8th grade art class and a 5th grade science class, where Trump greeted students working on Van Gogh-inspired watercolor paintings of daffodils. The pair spoke with students in lab coats and safety goggles excitedly dissecting owl pellets.

Queen Rania has made education and children a top advocacy priority, launching several key initiatives, including the Queen Rania Foundation for Education and Development; the Queen Rania Teacher Academy; the Jordan River Foundation, which focuses on child safety and community empowerment; and Madrasati, which connects "individuals, private companies and organizations, and provide them with support for improving the physical and educational learning environments of Jordan's most neglected public schools."

Their husbands, President Donald Trump and King Abdullah II held meetings at the White House.

Trump and Queen Rania appeared to already be friendly and comfortable together: As they settled in around a table for the conversation with students, parents and faculty, Queen Rania's chair was noticeably elevated.

"You got very tall," Trump said, laughing.

"Oh, I think it's my chair," the Queen said, adjusting her seat. "Bring me down to earth."

As Queen, she has visited with four first ladies in Washington since King Abdullah came to power in 1999, writing fondly of Michelle Obama as she left office earlier this year.

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