First lady Michelle Obama, criticized by some for bailing out of a weekend trip to California to join her husband in meeting the new Chinese president and his celebrity wife, will join Barack Obama on a weeklong tour through Africa right before July 4th.
It will be the first lady's second trip to the continent. In 2011, she, her daughters, mother and others spent a week traveling in Africa in a trip that caused controversy because of the $424,000 price tag. It's unclear if the first couple's daughters will join the family on this trip.
On that June 2011 trip, the first lady's entourage traveled to South Africa and Botswana. Later this month, the first couple will travel to Dakar, Senegal, Johannesburg, South Africa, Cape Town, South Africa, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. HipHopwired.com pegged the dates June 26 through July 3.
Having the first lady along elevates the trip beyond the typical diplomatic meetings of the heads of state and helps to promote the first ladies of the leaders President Obama will meet with and Michelle Obama's issues.
Some Chinese watchers said that Michelle Obama was 'dissing her counterpart, photogenic singer Peng Liyuan, by not attending the mini-summit in order to be home when her two daughters finish the school year and to headline a fundraiser for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe. The Los Angeles Times simply headlined the news: "No Michelle at the summit? Chinese see a snub."