- President Donald Trump reportedly advised first lady Melania Trump against creating her anti-cyberbullying “Be Best” campaign because of his own Twitter habits.
- Melania went ahead with the initiative and was “willing to face the criticism,” according to a recent New York Times profile of the first lady.
- The “Be Best” campaign has struggled to gain much traction since its launch in May.
President Donald Trump advised first lady Melania against creating her anti-cyberbullying “Be Best” campaign, knowing she’d have to face criticism of his own tendencies to attack and insult his enemies on Twitter, according to a Friday New York Times profile of the first lady.
“The president suggested that Mrs. Trump choose a different topic to avoid questions about how the wife of a notorious Twitter bully could lead a campaign to spotlight anti-bullying and other child wellness efforts, and he warned her that she was opening herself to such jeers,” wrote the Times, citing sources familiar with the conversations.
“She rejected his advice, and publicly said she was willing to face the criticism,” they said.
Not only did the campaign receive a slew of backlash over president’s Twitter habits, but the rollout materials were accused of plagiarizing from Obama-era Federal Communications Commission guidelines on child internet safety that used the phrase “Be Best.” Melania was also reportedly displeased when her husband did not publicly come to her defence, The Times reported.
Despite a promising debut, the campaign, which also focuses on child wellness and combatting the opioid crisis, has struggled to lift off the ground, partly due to several of Melania’s unpaid advisers being forced out of the East Wing due to a clearance review.
Melania has also not appeared at any events for “Be Best” since May, and has only mentioned it five times since in “tightly controlled solo appearances,” according to The Times.
But Melania’s spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham pushed back on the idea that the campaign hadn’t been the stellar success Melania originally imagined.
“It is exactly what she wants it to be, and has been a success,” she told The Times. “We look forward to continued success in her mission of helping children.”
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.