First lady Melania Trump on Monday addressed a panel on preventing cyberbullying, just hours after her husband, President Donald Trump, once again tweeted to pillory special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
“In today’s global society, social media is an inevitable part of our children’s daily lives. It can be used in many positive ways, but can also be destructive and harmful when used incorrectly,” Trump said in her opening remarks as she addressed a panel featuring youth activists, social media executives, law enforcement officials and educators.
“That is why Be Best chooses to focus on the importance of teaching our next generation how to conduct themselves safely and in a positive manner in an online setting,” she added, referring to her initiative on children’s issues.
Trump also emphasized that children who use social media should be included in conversations about potential solutions.
“By listening to children’s ideas and concerns, I believe adults will be better able to help them navigate this often-difficult topic,” she said. “Let’s face it: Most children are more aware of the benefits and pitfalls of social media than some adults.”
Trump’s focus on cyberbullying as part of Be Best has long been the source of criticism and mockery, given her husband’s regular stream of Twitter attacks.
“She is aware of the criticism but it will not deter her from doing what she feels is right,” the first lady’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, said in a statement to reporters.
Just hours before the panel, the president again took aim at Mueller and his team, calling them a “group of Angry Democrat Thugs” in response to a New York Times story about White House counsel Don McGahn cooperating with Mueller’s team as part of the probe into whether Trump obstructed justice.
Later Monday morning, Donald Trump again attacked former CIA Director John Brennan, whose security clearance the president revoked last week. He called Brennan, who has frequently criticized the administration, a “political ‘hack.’”
Last week, the president referred to his former aide Omarosa Manigault Newman, once the only African-American woman among the senior White House staff, as a “crazed, crying lowlife” and “that dog.”
The first lady’s office has operated largely independently from that of the president. Scholars who have studied first ladies say this is yet another way in which her approach to the role has been radically different from that of her predecessors, whose work typically boosted the administration’s policy goals.
This article has been updated with comment from Grisham.