Justice

Everyone's Asking About Melania Trump's Anti-Bullying Program Right Now

June 29th 2017

By:
Mike Rothschild

President Donald Trump's tweets insulting the looks and sanity of MSNBC hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski brought out the usual shock from media pundits and "concerned" reactions from Republican members of Congress.

But it also led to a statement from first lady Melania Trump that not only appeared to blame the victims of Trump's wrath, but totally abandoned her previously stated commitment to ending cyberbullying.

"As the First Lady has stated publicly in the past, when her husband gets attacked, he will punch back 10 times harder," Stephanie Grisham, the first lady's communications director, told CNN in a statement in reference to the president's tweets.

Melania's office echoed comments she made on April 4, 2016, on her first appearance on the campaign trail. She told an audience in Milwaukee that "when you attack him he will punch back 10 times harder. No matter who you are, a man or a woman, he treats everyone equal."

But since that pronouncement of Trump's wrath, Melania has taken up a stance against online bullying. In a pre-Election Day speech in suburban Philadelphia she announced, "technology has changed our universe ... [but] it can have a bad side," and that "our culture has gotten too mean and too rough, especially to children and teenagers."

Her alleged commitment to fighting online harassment was referenced by outraged Twitter users who were wondering how her crusade was going.

It should also be noted that beyond that speech right before the election, in a critical state Trump had to win, it doesn't appear Melania has done anything to advance her anti-cyberbullying initiative. She hasn't even spoken of it, again, other than one brief remark in April, according to USA Today.

As Maria Puente wrote on May 10 for USA Today, "leaders and activists in anti-cyber bullying efforts, neither Trump nor her East Wing staff have reached out, nor have they responded to offers to help." Apparently, a number of major anti-bullying organizations and figures had tried to attract the Melania's attention, only to hear nothing back. At the time, her office told USA Today that the effort was "a work in progress" but that advocates should rest assured that "Mrs. Trump is being very thoughtful when it comes to building out her initiatives."

At this point, Melania's staff numbers in the single digits, she has made few public appearances to do anything other than advocate for her husband's policies, and these "initiatives," should they exist, haven't been made public or spoken of in any meaningful way.

This has left some to wonder how she can convince others not to inflict hurtful rhetoric, while having no apparent influence on that spewed by her husband.

In response to the jibes about her "initiatives" to end online bullying, the first lady's office said only that Melania was "continuing to be thoughtful about her platform."