While speaking at an anti-cyberbullying conference on Thursday, the first lady said she was committed to promoting kinder behavior online despite the criticism.
“As I have said before, 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 OK,” Melania Trump said at the Family Online Safety Institute’s annual conference.
“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 behavior,” she added.
The first lady’s comments follow an especially contentious week for her husband, who recently berated several black female journalists, describing one woman’s questions as “stupid” while calling another “nasty” and “a loser.”
In her role as the first lady, Trump has taken up an anti-bullying agenda and launched a “Be Best” campaign aimed at encouraging better behavior online.
On Thursday, she discussed the dangers of online bullying and ways to prevent it with a panel of students.
“Today’s technology provides people with a digital shield to hide behind,” she said at the conference. “And being anonymous often takes the place of being caring and responsible, which can lead to children and adults feeling empowered to be unkind and, at times, cruel.”
Trump said her decision to embrace anti-bullying efforts was partially motivated by the bullying she faced. During an interview with ABC last month, she said she was “the most bullied person in the world.”
But people are quick to point out the irony in her advocacy, considering President Trump’s aggressive rhetoric and constant Twitter feuds with his political opponents.
On top of his recent attacks on journalists, the president called his alleged former lover Stormy Daniels a “horseface” in a tweet, celebrated Republican Rep. Greg Gianforte’s (R-Mont.) assault on a reporter and repeatedly called Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) “Pocahontas,” all just in the month of October.
Earlier this week, Melania Trump called for the firing of deputy national security adviser Mira Ricardel after the two reportedly clashed during a trip to Africa last month. The first lady said through an aide’s Twitter message that Ricardel no longer deserved “the honor of serving in this White House.” One day later, Ricardel was dismissed from her role.