Hours afterwards, first lady Melania Trump was in the Washington, DC, suburbs to promote her Be Best campaign designed to shine a light on and stamp out the massive problem of cyberbullying. “In today's global society, social media is an inevitable part of our children's daily lives, ” Melania Trump said at the event .~ ATAGEND “It can be used in many positive routes, 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 way in an online setting.”
So, yeah. If your head is spinning as you try to reconcile the first lady's terms on Monday with the President's tweets on Monday , nothing is wrong with you. In fact, if the incongruity between how the two Trumps expended their mornings doesn't knock you for a loop-the-loop, you simply aren't paying attention.
From the moment Melania Trump chose bullying as one of the questions she wanted to focus on as first lady( well-being and opioid abuse are the other two tent poles under the broader “Be Best” slogan) it's seemed an odd choice.
After all, President Trump has made a career — in and out of politics — by assaulting people, online and in real life. He rose to reality Tv fame in the 1990 s for his tough-guy character in the boardroom of “The Apprentice.” During his 2016 campaign, Trump turned bullying into a political strategy — calling his adversaries names, insulting their looks and even mocking a reporter with a disability. Trump transformed the sort of bully familiar to anyone who has ever been in 8th grade into a stand-in for anti-political correctness — evidence that he wasn't like all the other politicians because he was saying things they would never consider saying.( The question too few people asked — or cared about — was whether* not* saying those things was simply common decency rather than some sort of speak-truth-to-power moment .)
When encompassing the unveiling of Be Best back in May, CNN's Kate Bennett wrote this about of the inclusion of cyberbullying in Melania's platform 😀 TAG 18 TTThe last of these issues has been a lightning rod of dispute for Trump, whose spouse is perhaps one of the most public, and prolific, offenders of name-calling on Twitter.
Sitting in the front row, feet from his wife at the podium, the President listened as the first lady cautioned against employing the very behavior Trump showings, sometimes on a daily basis.
“As we all know, social media can both positively and negatively affect our children. But too often, it is used in negative ways, ” said Trump. “When children learn positive online behaviors early on, social media can be used in productive routes and can affect positive change.”
Check out the latest analysis from The Point with Chris Cillizza 😛 TAGEND Rudy Giuliani's Sunday indicate appearance was a total calamity Trump rewrites historyas Russia probe pressure mounts Michael Avenatti is no Donald Trump. Not even close .~ ATAGEND The definitive ranking of 2020 Democrats This week in politics , GIF'd
Given how at-odds Donald Trump's tweets( and terms) are from Melania Trump's stated aims as first lady — it would be like a hot dog salesman's spouse starting a national campaign is targeted at highlighting all the gross stuff they put in hot dog — I've long wondered whether her focus on cyberbullying is really only a very public trolling of her husband — like, she knows exactly what she's doing, how bad a light it sets him in and is entirely good with that.
( For those who doubt Melania Trump would do something like that, I give you the “I actually don't care. Do U” jacket .)
I asked that very question on Twitterearlier on Monday. Stephanie Grisham, Melania Trump's communications director, responded to my tweet with this: “It's a sincere campaign meant to help children w the many issues they face today.”
I get that. As the victim of a bully in 9th and 10 th grade that destroyed my confidence and sense of ego — and from which it took me years to fully recover — I am in favor of shining a light on the dangers of bullying. Particularly now, when so much of it happens via text, Snapchat and other electronic means, where parents have even less ability to see what is actually happening in their kids' lives.
The problem with accepting at face value Grisham's explanation on Melania's Be Best campaign is that it forces-out you to accept that either a) the first lady is entirely unaware of her husband's past — and current — bullying or b) she is aware of it but doesn't believe that what he says and tweets has any impact on the effectiveness of her own efforts.
Option “a” seems to me to be implausible — unless Melania doesn't ever read her husband's tweets or keep watching the news or read anything written about his White House. Which means — short of the she's-totally-trolling-him-on-purpose explain — leaves us with alternative “b: ” That Melania is well aware of her husband's bullying tendencies but is choosing to ignore their impact on her own efforts to curb bullying.
That's next-level compartmentalizing. And it simply won't work. Any believing person speedily arrives at some version of this question in regard to Melania Trump's focus on ending cyberbullying: If she cares so deeply about it, why can't she asks her husband to stop doing it? Or at least try to slow his roll?
If there's a good answer for that question, we've not heard it either from the first lady or her faculty. And that stillnes seriously undercuts the very good work on a very important subject that she is trying to do. Which is genuinely unfortunate.