First lady Melania Trump on Wednesday talked about what she teaches 12-year-old son Barron about cyberbullying, noting it’s important to treat people with “respect and kindness” on social media ― sometimes.
“Also, sometimes you need to fight back ― I’m sorry,” she said to cheers at a summit on the opioid crisis held at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.
For a moment, it appeared the first lady had channeled husband President Donald Trump’s approach to social media. Some critics have taken to calling him the “cyberbully-in-chief” for his tweets mocking women’s appearances and attacking his political foes’ intelligence.
Melania Trump said Wednesday that she expected to face some backlash over her Be Best initiative, a wide-ranging campaign focused on promoting well-being, combatting opioid addiction and curbing cyberbullying. Critics have been quick to point out the irony of her project, considering the president’s own social media habits.
“I know when I started with Be Best and with social media initiative that I will be criticized but I will do what is right for the next generation,” she said.
The first lady’s message to “fight back” appeared at odds with the internet safety guide Be Best published in May. In a section titled “What to do about a cyberbully,” parents are encouraged to “keep a cool head” if their child is targeted.
“Remind your child that most people realize bullying is wrong,” the guide says. “Tell your child not to respond in kind.”