Despite her husband’s Twitter tirades, First Lady campaigns against cyberbullying
Melania Trump led a discussion on abusive use of social media that seemed juxtaposed to the president's outwardly abusive behavior on Twitter
In what many across social media are calling veiled criticism of her husband’s social media etiquette, First Lady Melania Trump has added her voice to the cyberbullying conversation.
As part of her Be Best campaign, on Monday, Mrs. Trump warned against “destructive and harmful” uses of social media.
“In today’s global society, social media is an inevitable part of our children’s daily lives,” she said at a cyberbullying summit in Rockville, Md. “It can be used in many positive ways, but can also be destructive and harmful when used incorrectly. This is why Be Best chooses to focus on the importance of teaching our next generation how to conduct themselves safely and in a positive manner in an online setting.”
CNN reports that while summit panelists discussed how vital it is that adults serve as “good digital role models” for children, President Trump was on Twitter ranting about John Brennan, whom he called a “hack” and “the worst CIA Director in our country’s history.”
Trump’s often harsh and controversial use of Twitter dominated the headlines last week when he referred to former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman as a “dog” after she slammed him for being a racist who has used the N-word.
“When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, the First Lady’s spokeswoman attempted to downplay reports that there is a tense disconnect between the East Wing and the West Wing.
“She’s addressed this before. She is well aware of the criticism, but that will not deter her from doing what she feels is right. I would hope most people in this country are proud that they have a strong and independent first lady who only has the best interests of children at heart — I know I am,” her communications director Stephanie Grisham told CNN.
She also described Trump’s advocacy against cyberbullying as “a sincere campaign meant to help children.”
The first lady’s Be Best campaign was launched in May and focuses on three key issues for children: well-being, fighting opioid abuse and positivity on social media.
During her speech, Mrs. Trump acknowledged that children, more often than adults, can be more social media savvy and aware of the “pitfalls” of engaging online.
“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 information and tools for successful and safe online habits,” she said.
She previously shared her thoughts on her husband’s social media habits in an interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes” just after the 2016 election. When asked if she ever calls him out when he crosses the line, she replied: “I think he hears me. But he will do what he wants to do at the end. He’s an adult. He knows the consequences. And I give him my opinion. And he could do whatever he likes with it,” she said.