Her husband has used Twitter to insult at least 282 people, places and things, according to a recent New York Times tally – but on Thursday Melania Trump took a stand against social media bullying in her first solo campaign speech since the Republican National Convention in July.
Addressing supporters at a rally in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia, on Tuesday afternoon, Melania said it would be her “honor and privilege” to serve as First Lady, and promised to be an “advocate for women and for children” if her husband, GOP nominee Donald Trump, is elected president.
Melania said she has the same concerns for “all of our children” that she has for her own 10-year-old son, Barron.
“I’m a full-time mother to our son, Barron, an incredible boy … Barron has many privileges and advantages,” she said. “We know how fortunate we are. Still, I have the same conversations with my son that many of you have with your sons and daughters and nieces and nephews, grandchildren and godchildren.”
“I want my little boy to know that he’s blessed to be born in a country that values individual freedom and constitutional democracy,” she continued. “I want our children in this country and all around the world to live a beautiful life, to be safe and secure, to dream freely of love and a family of their own some day. We need to teach our youth American values: kindness, honestly, respect, compassion, charity, understanding, cooperation.”
Melania said she is particularly worried when it comes to the bullying children face in the schoolyard and on the Internet.
Pointing to the “bad side” of social media, Melania said, “As adults many of us are able to handle mean words, even lies. Children and teenagers can be fragile. Our culture has gotten too mean and too rough, especially to children and teenagers.”
“It is never okay when a 12-year-old girl is mocked, bullied or attacked. It is terrible when that happens on the playground. And it is absolutely unacceptable when it’s done with no name hiding on the Internet.”
While some Trump supporters on Twitter applauded Melania’s speech as “inspiring” and “moving,” others found her call to end social media bullying ironic, given her husband’s penchant for using it as a platform to attack his opponents, often referring to them by negative nicknames like “Little Marco” (Marco Rubio), “Crooked Hillary” (Clinton) and “Lyin’ Ted” (Ted Cruz).