Melania Trump's cyberbullying initiative 'but one subset' of her White House focus on children
Melania Trump is expected to move from Trump Tower in New York to the White House in Washington as early as next week, yet her major initiatives as first lady surrounding care for children remain open to question.
The Slovenian native and wife to President Trump had previously stated on the campaign trail that she would address the pressing issue of cyberbullying, which she described in a November 2016 speech as "absolutely unacceptable when it's done with no name hiding on the internet."
"Our culture has gotten too mean and too rough especially to children and to teenagers," Melania Trump stated, just one week before Election Day. "We have to find a better way to talk to each other, to disagree with each other, to respect each other."
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Since then, though, the first lady and her staff have put off a full-blown roll out of Melania Trump's White House agenda.
"It's still not clear exactly what initiative Melania Trump will make her platform," writes POLITICO's Annie Karnie, who reported on Wednesday of the first lady's soon expected move to Washington. Karnie reports that an anonymous White House official has said the first lady's cyberbullying initaitve has been, as Karnie writes, "cast aside."
"While cyber-bullying is something she speaks out against, that is but one subset of her focus around the overall wellness of children," Melania Trump spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in an email to POLITICO. The first lady's team is now reportedly built up to 10 staffers, and Grisham says she is focusing on "quality over quantity" as she develops her unit and builds out her initiatives.
First lady historian Myra Gutin of Rider University in New Jersey told USA Today in May that she has not seen "any movement towards an initiative that she's endorsed."
"She's hired some staff but not up to the level that other first ladies have done by now," Gutin said. "The tradition is that the presidential spouse gives us some insight into the character of the president, and certainly since Jacqueline Kennedy those of us who care about it have always thought the first lady can use (the White House audience) to do a lot of good."
The first lady has in recent months made a concerted public effort to fit in time with children at events both foreign and domestic. From reading with children at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll to visiting with students at multiple schools, Melania Trump appears set on addressing the needs of children from varying backgrounds. Even while abroad during her foreign trip with President Trump, she stopped by both Queen Fabiola University Hospital in Brussels and Bambino Gesu in Rome where she snapped photos and visited with sick children.
Melania Trump has also hosted a White House luncheon celebrating International Women's Day, handed out awards for an International Women of Courage ceremony and made notable appearances at White House events honoring members of the U.S. armed services.
The first lady and her 11-year-old son, Barron, are expected to leave New York and move into the White House full time sometime this month.
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