Melania Trump, the first lady of the United States, briefly stepped out of her husband’s larger than life shadow on Monday to launch a campaign against cyber-bullying – before putting on a show of unity with Donald Trump.
Just as Hillary Clinton was once scrutinized during her husband Bill’s sex scandal, Melania faced the cameras even as Donald Trump kept changing his story about an alleged extramarital encounter with the pornographic film actor Stormy Daniels.
“As a mother and as first lady, it concerns me that in today’s fast-paced and ever-connected world, children can be less prepared to express or manage their emotions and often times turn to forms of destructive or addictive behaviour such as bullying, drug addiction or even suicide,” Melania told an audience in bright sunshine in the White House Rose Garden, which is normally reserved for events hosted by the president.
“I feel strongly that as adults, we can and should be best at educating our children about the importance of a healthy and balanced life,” she added.
The words were likely to ring hollow with Trump’s many critics. During the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton ran a campaign and ad entitled “Role Models” featuring clips of Trump referring to Mexicans as “rapists” and mocking a disabled reporter. The ad said: “Our children are watching. What example will we set for them?”
But Melania, in her speech on Monday launching the campaign, entitled “Be Best”, continued: “Social media can both positively and negatively affect our children. But too often, it is used in negative ways. When children learn positive online behaviors early on, social media can be used in productive ways. I do believe that children should be both seen and heard, and it is our responsibility as adults to educate and remind them that when they are using their voices – whether verbally or online – they must choose their words wisely and speak with respect and compassion.”
Her husband, however, has become notorious for using Twitter to hurl insults and slap demeaning nicknames on a variety of perceived foes. Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, said on Monday: “I think the idea you’re trying to blame cyberbullying on the president is kind of ridiculous.”
Melania also spoke about the need to help children in communities affected by America’s devastating opiods epidemic. After her remarks, she invited her husband to the lectern, as he smiled broadly. He put a hand on her waist and kissed her on the cheeks three times, then told the gathering: “That was a truly beautiful and heartfelt speech. That’s the way she feels, very strong.”
Trump said America was “blessed” to have her as first lady. He told her: “Your care and compassion for our nation’s children – and I have to say this and I say it all the time – inspires us all.”
The president then signed a proclamation declaring 7 May as “Be Best Day”. The couple then went back into the White House together.
Guests in the Rose Garden were greeted by a jazz band and included the vice-president Mike Pence, the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner.
Slovenian-born Melania, 48, is Trump’s third wife. She was rarely seen in Washington during the first six months of the administration. Her role as first lady to a dramatically divisive president is uniquely challenging.
Anita McBride, the former chief of staff to the ex-first lady Laura Bush, said: “Whenever the president is controversial, it’s sometimes hard to be given credit on your own. You just have to keep plugging away on your own.
The Washington Post reported on Monday that the couple are leading “remarkably separate” daily lives, sleeping in different bedrooms and seldom eating or spending leisure time together. Videos of Melania resisting the president’s attempts to hold her hand have gone viral.
McBride, executive in residence at the department of government at American University in Washington, added: “Only the two of them know what their relationship is like and it’s very hard to lead a personal life in the public eye. It may lead to chatter but it doesn’t seem to be affecting the job she’s doing. God knows, the Clintons had their fair share of troubles on the public stage and they seemed to make it through just fine.”
The Be Best initiatives offer few surprises. Melania had made numerous visits to hospitals and schools and recently turned the blue room at the White House into a mock classroom and invited school pupils to share their aspirations. She pledged to continue with such activities and trips.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010
EXCLUSIVE: Full Audio Of White House official President Trump says ‘doesn’t exist’
On Thursday afternoon the White House held a “background briefing” where a “senior White House official” provided information on North Korea to reporters.
On Saturday, President Trump claimed the aide “doesn’t exist.”
The Failing @nytimes quotes “a senior White House official,” who doesn’t exist, as saying “even if the meeting were reinstated, holding it on June 12 would be impossible, given the lack of time and the amount of planning needed.” WRONG AGAIN! Use real people, not phony sources.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2018
A few hours later, a journalist posted partial audio of the call
4. I've obtained audio of the WH press briefing. You can hear Raj Shah, Deputy Press Secretary, introduce Pottinger (along with the terms – which are standard) and then Pottinger makes the statement that POTUS says was never made. Lots of reporters in briefing room and on phone. pic.twitter.com/2gEYkRSyTv
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) May 26, 2018
NewsThisSecond has obtained a recording of the background briefing in its entirety and is making it public.
Read President Trump’s Letter to Chairman Kim Jong Un canceling the summit between the two leaders
Text Version –
Kim Jong Un
Chairman of the State Affairs Commission
of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
Dear Mr. Chairman:
We greatly appreciation your time, patience, and effort with respect to our recent negotiations and discussions relative to a summit long sought by both parties, which was scheduled to take place on June 12 in Singapore. We were informed that the meeting was requested by North Korea, but that to us is totally irrelevant. I was very much looking forward to being there with you. Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting. Therefore, please let this letter serve to represent that the Singapore summit, for the good of both parties, but to the detriment of the world, will not take place. You talk about nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used.
I felt a wonderful dialogue was building up between you and me, and ultimately, it is only that dialogue that matters. Some day, I look very much forward to meeting you. In the meantime, I want to thank you for the release of the hostages who are now home with their families. That was a beautiful gesture and was very much appreciated.
If you change your mind having to do with this most important summit, please do not hesitate to call me or write. The world, and North Korea in particular, has lost a great opportunity for lasting peace and great prosperity and wealth. This missed opportunity is a truly sad moment in history.
Donald J. Trump
President of the United States of America
MELANIA TRUMP UNDERGOES KIDNEY SURGERY AT WALTER REED MEDICAL CENTER
First lady Melania Trump underwent kidney surgery Monday at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center near Washington, DC, according to a statement from her office.
Trump had been experiencing an issue with her kidney that her office described as benign but requiring medical attention.
Trump, who turned 48 last month, entered Walter Reed in nearby Bethesda, Maryland, on Monday morning and is expected to remain hospitalized for several days following the operation, according to the statement from her communications director, Stephanie Grisham.
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