Anti-Cyberbullying Advocate Melania Trump, Through Spokeswoman, Defends Her Husband's Twitter Attack
But on Thursday, she chose — through her spokeswoman — to side with the person being widely condemned as a bully.
After President Donald Trump launched a vicious and personal Twitter attack against Morning Joe co-hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough on Thursday morning, the first lady offered some words of support for her husband via her spokesperson.
“When her husband gets attacked, he will punch back 10 times harder,” said spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham, per a tweet from CNN senior White House reporter Jeff Zeleny.
Grisham explained to PEOPLE that she was referencing the first lady’s remarks from the campaign trail in April 2016, when she pushed back against accusations that her husband was sexist or disrespectful towards women.
“As you may know by now, when you attack him he will punch back 10 times harder,” she told a crowd in Milwaukee at the time. “No matter who you are, a man or a woman, he treats everyone equal.”
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The president’s comments about Brzezinski — he called her “low I.Q.,” “crazy” and ridiculed her for allegedly having a face lift — drew particular ire and joined the long list of times the president has singled out female journalists for their looks.
Melania Trump, who also vowed in November to be an advocate for women and children, has yet to release a formal plan for her anti-cyberbullying effort.
The first lady “continues to be thoughtful about it, and we look forward to announcing something in the coming weeks,” spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham tells PEOPLE.
Last month, Grisham told USA Today that specifics on any proposed initiatives were still in the works.
“Mrs. Trump is being very thoughtful when it comes to building out her initiatives,” Grisham said, noting that the first lady was taking her time hiring people because she values “quality over quantity.”
On Fox News’ Outnumbered, co-host Meghan McCain took heated issue with a fellow co-host who admiringly likened Trump’s tweets to a “sick burn.”
“I’m sorry. We have a first lady whose platform is cyberbullying. It’s a very real thing. Teenagers commit suicide around the country over being cyberbullied and we have a president who is doing that,” McCain said.
“It looks hypocritical that he’s still doing this while it’s our first lady’s platform, so the idea of ‘sick burns’ — it actually can be quite more serious than that. This, to me, falls in the category of cyberbullying.”