First Lady Melania Trump's "Be Best" campaign is intended to promote the wellbeing of children. She offered a new speech on behalf of the effort on Monday, this time focused on the harms of cyber bullying.
First lady Melania Trump: "Let's face it - most children are more aware of the benefits and pitfalls of social media than some adults, but we still need to do all we can to provide them with the tools and information for successful and safe online habits." https://t.co/vEh0YqnS7I pic.twitter.com/DVcAzrSRcA— CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) August 20, 2018
Social media spoke up to criticize her "hypocrisy" and made some amusing comparisons, wondering how she could condemn cyber bullying while President Trump has repeatedly posted insulting messages on Twitter against his critics. Last week, for instance, he called Omarosa Manigault-Newman a "dog" after her tirade against both his character and his administration.
First Lady Melania Trump speaking out against cyberbullying is like Colonel Sanders' wife speaking out against fried chicken.— JRehling (@JRehling) August 20, 2018
First Lady Melania Trump coming out against online bullying like Bernie Madoff’s wife coming out against Ponzi schemes.— PoliticalGroove (@PoliticalGroove) August 20, 2018
Media outlets like got in on the pushback too. "First Lady Melania Trump warns against pitfalls of social media as President Trump unleashes another Twitter tantrum," one New York Daily News headline read.
A New York Times report on Monday even suggested that Trump anticipated how his wife's anti-cyber bullying initiative would be received. He tried to persuade her not to speak out on it because he knew it would be an open door to criticism, according to the editors.
The president suggested that Mrs. Trump choose a different topic to avoid questions about how the wife of a notorious Twitter bully could lead a campaign to spotlight anti-bullying and other child wellness efforts, and he warned her that she was opening herself to such jeers, people familiar with the conversations said. She rejected his advice, and publicly said she was willing to face the criticism.
Mrs. Trump and her team, however, are taking the backlash in stride.
“It is exactly what she wants it to be, and has been a success,” Mrs. Trump's communications director Stephanie Grisham said. “We look forward to continued success in her mission of helping children.”