The first lady, 48, spoke at the Family Online Safety Institute’s annual conference on Thursday, according to the White House. During her speech, she addressed the backlash she’d received for choosing this issue as her passion project — largely because critics say her husband, President Donald Trump, uses name-calling to harass his critics online.
“It is not news or surprising to me that critics and the media have chosen to ridicule me for speaking out on this issue, and that’s okay,” she said at the event, where the theme was “Creating a Culture of Responsibility Online,” according to TIME.
The first lady continued: “I remain committed to tackling this topic because it will provide a better world for our children. And I hope that, like I do, you will consider using their negative words as motivation to do all you can to bring awareness and understanding about responsible online behavior.”
In May 2018, Mrs. Trump launched an “awareness campaign” — with the slogan “Be Best” — around the challenges America’s children face, promising to dedicate the remainder of her term as first lady to helping kids combat online bullying and the opioid epidemic.
Her speech comes at the end of a history-making week for the first lady. In a seemingly unprecedented move, she made an announcement through her spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham that she was calling for the resignation of a top National Security Council official, Mira Ricardel.
The statement, which came in response to reports that Trump had sought to have Ricardel removed, read, “It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that [Ricardel] no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House.”
According to CNN, reports had been circulating for most of Tuesday that Ricardel was being pushed out of the position just seven months after her hiring.
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She has been a major source of support for the head of the department, John Bolton, but allegedly perpetuated infighting within the administration, including with the first lady’s office.