“Let’s face it,” she added, “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."
This was the same day President Trump tweeted a litany of taunts, including calling Bruce Ohr, former associate deputy attorney general at the Department of Justice, a “total joke!” He called John Brennan, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, a “political hack." He called Robert S. Mueller III, special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, “disgraced and discredited” and his team a “group of Angry Democrat Thugs.”
There’s a lot of speculation that the first lady was “trolling” her husband. But others find her words more hypocritical than helpful. Her speech left many on social media asking how the first lady could urge Americans to be more mindful of their social media usage while her husband seems to be leaning into the very behavior his wife claims to want to eliminate.
My husband is an arsonist who keeps burning down everything in sight but we really need to set a better example so kids stop playing with fire. That’s what we hear when Melania Trump talks about cyberbullying.— Adam Best (@adamcbest) August 20, 2018
The first lady’s communications director, Stephanie Grisham, played defense in response to criticism.
“The First Lady’s presence at events such as today’s cyberbullying summit elevates an issue that is important to children and families across this country," Grisham said. "She is aware of the criticism but it will not deter her from doing what she feels is right. The President is proud of her commitment to children and encourages her in all that she does.”
The juxtaposition of Melania Trump’s words and President Trump’s actions raise questions about the depths of the first lady’s convictions every time she discusses her anti-bullying platform. It is understandably difficult to speak out against one’s spouse in public. A public division between the first couple could create a distracting and probably unhelpful sideshow for both of them. But addressing an issue that her other half does not appear invested in will continue to give her audience and the media cause to dissect her remarks, and her motives.