White House slams 'opposition media' for pointing out that Melania Trump's anti-cyberbullying booklet is a recycled Obama FTC pamphlet

  • The White House on Tuesday labelled news outlets as “opposition media” for reporting that the first lady’s anti-cyberbullying booklet was reused from an Obama-era version.
  • The Office of the First Lady accused the media of lobbing “baseless accusations” toward Melania Trump.
  • The office acknowledged that Trump had agreed to rebrand the old booklet and “use her platform to amplify the positive message within.”

The Office of the First Lady blasted the “opposition media” on Tuesday for pointing out that the educational anti-cyberbullying booklet that Melania Trump launched on Monday was mostly recycled – from a previous version published by the Federal Trade Commission during the Obama administration.

“Some media have chosen to take a day meant to promote kindness and positive efforts on behalf of children, to instead lob baseless accusations towards the First Lady and her new initiatives,” a statement from the communications director said.

Trump on Monday had unveiled her “Be Best” initiative meant to combat issues like social media use, mental health issues, and opioid addiction among youths.

But critics quickly seized upon the “Talking With Kids About Being Online” document, which is nearly identical to an original FTC pamphlet the Obama administration published in 2014.

Though the language and graphics vary slightly from the original, and Trump’s version contains a new introduction, the small changes didn’t shield the first lady from accusations that she had plagiarized the Obama administration’s pamphlet.

The incident prompted speculation that the first lady was once again copying the Obamas. She was criticised during the 2016 presidential campaign for a speech that lifted some language from one that former first lady Michelle Obama made in 2008.

But on Tuesday, the White House acknowledged its use of the 2009 FTC booklet, and said Trump had agreed to rebrand the old booklet and “use her platform to amplify the positive message within.”

“Our office will continue to focus on helping children and I encourage members of the media to attempt to Be Best in their own professions,” the White House statement read.

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