Days after spurring controversy by wearing a jacket bearing the words “I really don’t care” on a trip to the U.S.-Mexico border, first lady Melania Trump had a more generous — and less ambiguous — message.
“Kindness, compassion and positivity are very important traits in life,” she told a group of teenagers Sunday night. “It is far easier to say nothing than it is to speak words of kindness. It is easier to judge quickly than to take time to understand. It is often easier to see a glass half empty rather than half full.”
Trump’s remarks came at a conference in Northern Virginia sponsored by Students Against Destructive Decisions, an organization that changed its name from Students Against Driving Drunk in 1997 with an expanded mission of preventing “all destructive behaviors and attitudes that are harmful to young people,” according to the group’s website.
Trump, who was a surprise guest at the group’s annual national conference, told the young people that the aim of their organization dovetails with her initiative “Be Best,” which she started last month and has said will focus on the well-being of children.
“You have the power to be the positive force in so many people’s lives,” she said. “Show respect to each other. Treat your community like your family and look out for one another.”
The 450 or so teenagers, who passed the time waiting for the program to begin by singing along to Neil Diamond, greeted the first lady with surprised cheers. After her brief remarks, they gave her a standing ovation, while several boys wearing American flag bandannas led chants of “U.S.A., U.S.A.!”
Trump’s message about the importance of kindness is complicated by her husband’s habit of attacking critics. Just as the first lady was returning to the White House from the event, President Trump was on Twitter, calling out comedian Jimmy Fallon.
Fallon recently said he regretted going so easy on Trump in a 2016 interview in which he tousled the then-candidate’s hair.
Trump hit back with a Sunday-night tweet: “.@jimmyfallon is now whimpering to all that he did the famous ‘hair show’ with me (where he seriously messed up my hair), & that he would have now done it differently because it is said to have ‘humanized’ me-he is taking heat. He called & said ‘monster ratings.’ Be a man Jimmy!”