WASHINGTON (CNN) — First lady Melania Trump took advantage of an organized roundtable event with technology executives to address those who have criticized her for taking on a platform that includes cyberbullying.
“I am well aware that people are skeptical of me discussing this topic,” said Melania Trump in opening remarks. “I have been criticized for my commitment to tackling this issue and I know that will continue. But it will not stop me from doing what I know is right.”
President Donald Trump often serves as an example of someone who uses social media for name-calling and negativity, and, as such, the first lady has suffered the fallout from his behavior on her burgeoning platform.
With her remarks, the first lady appeared to be acknowledging the apparent hypocrisy between a President who liberally tweets his feelings, and her desire to curb online hostility.
Trump was addressing a panel of internet experts from entities such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. Her goal Tuesday, according to her communications director Stephanie Grisham, was to talk about the issues children face growing up in today’s technology-obsessed world.
“We have focused on opioid abuse and addiction, healthy living, kindness and compassion, nutrition, and the importance of education. Today’s topic of social media and technology is no different,” Grisham told CNN.
The first lady shared that she has communicated with children, some of whom have been on the receiving end of social media threats.
“In my role as first lady, I receive many letters from children who have been bullied or feel threatened on social media. I know that each of your companies and groups have been working on these issues for many years and I look forward to hearing what you have learned, what has been accomplished and what progress still needs to be made.”
While the press was ushered out of the event before the actual discussion began, the first lady clearly addressed those who have attempted to malign her commitment to the cyberbullying while the media was present. Grisham said it was Trump’s choice to speak candidly, another example of a first lady who is not necessarily in sync with the behavior and habits of her husband.
“Yes, she knows there is going to be criticism, but she is an independent woman who is doing what she feels is right for children,” Grisham said. “This should be celebrated, not criticized. It is our hope that people will be supportive of the goal to do all we can to help children grow up to be happy, healthy and morally responsible adults.”
— Kate Bennett
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