Melania Trump is 'doing a wonderful job' fighting bullying: Kathy Ireland

When First Lady Melania Trump launched a campaign against cyberbullying last year, some praised the initiative while others sharply criticized it, citing disparaging tweets written by her husband, President Donald Trump. A year before the initiative began, former model and prominent chief executive Kathy Ireland defended Melania Trump against attacks that focused on the First Lady’s own past modeling career.

In a newly released interview, Ireland stood by Melania Trump again, lauding her anti-bullying effort and declining to comment on whether some of Donald Trump’s tweets constitute cyberbullying.

“She's doing a wonderful job,” Kathy Ireland, former supermodel and CEO of Kathy Ireland Worldwide, said of Melania Trump. “I don't think there is any time that bullying is OK for anybody. There's never a time when that's OK.”

Following up, Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer asked whether some of Trump’s tweets should be considered bullying.

“When I'm in my business capacity, I don't get into politics because our team is wonderfully diverse and made up of people of every belief and thought,” she responds. “So to honor that, I don't.”

“But I will say that bullying of any kind, I strongly disagree with it,” adds Ireland in an interview taped in July.

Melania Trump through the years
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Melania Trump through the years

Donald Trump and Melania Knauss during Grand Opening of 'W' New York Hotel at W Hotel - NYC in New York City, New York, United States.

(Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

This picture provided by courtesy of Nena Bedek and taken in 1977 in Radenci, northeastern Slovenia, shows Slovenian-American former model and Donald Trump's wife Melania Trump (born Melanija Knavs)(2nd R) as a child, together with Nena Bedek (R), attending a fashion review of Jutranjka, the textile company where her mother used to work. Because of Melania Trump's husband success so far in the Republican race for the White House candidacy, foreign journalists and tourists have become a frequent sight in her birth region, set in rolling hills 60 miles from the capital Ljubljana.

(STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Donald Trump and Melania Trump attend the premiere of 'Celebrity' on September 25, 1998 at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City.

(Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

Melania Knauss (Concord Model) At The Launch Of Concords' New Advertising Campaign. There Is Also An Auctin To Benefit Amfar.

(Photo By Robin Platzer/Twin Images/Getty Images)

Melania Knauss Trump attends 27th Annual Fragrance Foundation Fifi Awards on June 7, 1999 at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City.

(Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

Donald Trump and girlfriend Melania Knauss are joined by Trump's former wife, Ivana, and her boyfriend, Roffredo Gaetaniat a party at Cipriani's on Park Ave. for the benefit of Rockefeller University.

(Photo by John Roca/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

Melania Knauss Trump attends 37th Annual Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Issue Preview Party on February 22, 2000 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City.

(Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)

Donald Trump and girlfriend Melania Knauss are joined by a couple of Playboy Bunnies at a launch party for the Hugo Boss store at Fifth Ave. and 56th St.

(Photo by Richard Corkery/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

Donald Trump and his girlfriend Melania Knauss are shown in this 03 September 2002 file photo, as they watch Andy Roddick of the US play Juan Ignacio Chela of Argentina at the US Open Tennis Tournament at Flushing Meadows, New York.


Melania Knauss attends the private party hosted by Donald Trump's T Management for legendary supermodel Pat Cleveland at Ian Schrager's Hudson Sky Terrace September 17, 2003 in New York.

(Photo By Steven Henry/Getty Images)

Real estate magnate Donald Trump and Melania leave Hollinger International's annual meeting at the Metropolitan Club in New York on May 22, 2003. Hollinger publishes The Chicago Sun-Times, The Daily Telegraph of London, the Jerusalem Post and other newspapers.

(REUTERS/Peter Morgan PM/ME)

Donald Trump's new bride, Slovenian model Melania Knauss, waves as they leave the Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church after their wedding in Palm Beach, Florida, January 22, 2005.

(REUTERS/Gary I Rothstein Pictures of the Month)

Melania Trump attends the J Mendel Spring Collections 2007 show during New York fashion week September 14, 2006.

(REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz)

Donald Trump, entrepreneur and host of the television reality series "The Apprentice", poses with his wife and children Donald Trump Jr., Tiffany Trump, Melania and daughter Ivanka at the party following the live telecast of the finale of season five in Los Angeles, California June 5, 2006.

(REUTERS/Fred Prouser/File Photo)

Donald Trump's wife Melania Trump and son Baron attend the ceremony honoring him with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 16, 2006 in Hollywood, California.

(Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)

Melania Trump during Celebs Toast to the New Trump Super Premium Vodka at TrumpTower in New York, New York, United States.

(Photo by Mychal Watts/WireImage)

Melania Trump and Andre Leon Talley attend ANDRE LEON TALLEY and RACHEL ROY Present Her Spring 2007 Collection at Bergdorf Goodman on October 11, 2006 in New York City.

(Photo by Neil Rasmus/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Melania Trump attends Michael Kors Fall 2007 Collection at The Tent on February 7, 2007 in New York City.

(Photo by Matt Carasella/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Melania Trump and Ivanka Trump inside Madonna and Gucci Host 'A Night to Benefit Raising Malawi and UNICEF' at the United Nations on February 6, 2007 in New York City.

(Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

Melania Trump, wearing Vera Wang, arrives for the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala, "Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy" in New York May 5, 2008.

(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

Melania Trump and her son Barron attend the 17th Annual Bunny Hop at FAO Schwarz March 11, 2008 in New York City.

(Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images)

Melania Trump arrives at 'The Celebrity Apprentice' viewing party at Tenjune on February 7, 2008 in New York City.

(Photo by Rob Loud/Getty Images)

Donald Trump, Jr., Barron Trump, Ivanka Trump, Melania Trump-Trump and Eric Trump attend the 'The Trump Card: Playing to Win in Work and Life' book launch celebration at Trump Tower on October 14, 2009 in New York City.

(Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images)

Donald Trump and his wife Melania pose at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala, "The Model As Muse: Embodying Fashion," in New York, May 4, 2009.

(REUTERS/Eric Thayer)

Melania Knauss, wife of Donald Trump, arrives at her seat in the stands to watch an evening match during the U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York September 8, 2010.

(REUTERS/Mike Segar)

Donald Trump and Melania Trump attend the Michael Kors Fall 2010 Fashion Show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at TheTent at Bryant Park on February 17, 2010 in New York, New York.

(Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for IMG)

Melania Trump attends The Black Eyed Peas launch the Samsung 3D LED TV at the Time Warner Center on March 10, 2010 in New York City.

(Photo by Charles Eshelman/FilmMagic)

Melania Trump attends the Philadelphia Style Magazine holiday issue release party at 10 Arts Lounge at The Ritz-Carlton on December 13, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

(Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images)

Producer Brian Grazer, Donald Trump, Director Brett Ratner, Melania Trump and Sean 'Diddy' Combs attend the world premiere of 'Tower Heist' at the Ziegfeld Theatre on October 24, 2011 in New York City.

(Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)

Donald Trump and Melania Trump attend Lady in Red Gala to benefit The American Veterans Disabled For Life Memorial at The Mar-a-Largo Club on December 2, 2011 in Palm Beach, Florida.

(Photo by Lucien Capehart/Getty Images)

Melania Trump attends the 'The Dark Knight Rises' World Premiere at AMC Lincoln Square Theater on July 16, 2012 in New York City.

(Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)

Real estate magnate Donald Trump and his wife Melania arrive at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit celebrating the opening of the "Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations" exhibition in New York, May 7, 2012.

(REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)

Vanessa Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Melania Trump attend the 2012 Operation Smile Gala at Cipriani Wall Street on May 3, 2012 in New York City.

(Photo by Mark Von Holden/WireImage)

Dr. Richard Ash, DuJour Media Founder Jason Binn, Goldie Hawn, Melania Trump and Donald Trump pose circa September 2013 in New York City.

(Photo by Jason Binn/WireImage)

Donald Trump, Melania Trump and son Barron Trump attend Trump Invitational Grand Prix at Mar-a-Lago on January 6, 2013 in Palm Beach, Florida.

(Photo by Larry Marano/Getty Images)

Melania Trump, the wife of real estate developer Donald Trump, attends a news conference in New York May 1, 2014. New Jersey's Trump National Golf Club, a course owned by Trump, will host the 2022 PGA Championship.

(REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)

Baz Luhrmann, Catherine Martin, Donald Trump and Melania Trump attend The New York Ball: The 20th Anniversary Benefit For The European School Of Economics at Trump Tower on November 19, 2014 in New York City.

(Photo by Monica Schipper/FilmMagic)

U.S. Republican presidential candidate, real estate mogul and TV personality Donald Trump gives a thumbs up while he poses with his family after formally announcing his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination during an event at Trump Tower in New York June 16, 2015. The Trump family from L; Eric Trump and his wife Lara, Donald Trump, son Barron, Melania Trump, Vanessa Haydon and her husband Donald Trump Jr., children Kia Trump and Donald Trump III, Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner and Tiffany Trump.

(REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)

Melania Trump, wife of Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump, smiles as she leaves the stage after the conclusion of the third and final debate between her husband and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton at UNLV in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 19, 2016.

(REUTERS/Rick Wilking)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump kisses his wife Melania Trump at a campaign rally in Wilmington, North Carolina Florida, U.S. November 5, 2016.

(REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's wife Melania Trump attends a campaign event in Washington, DC, U.S., October 26 2016.

(REUTERS/Carlo Allegri)

Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump greets his wife Melania after the third and final 2016 presidential campaign debate at UNLV in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., October 19, 2016.

(REUTERS/Joe Raedle/Pool)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump casts his ballot on election day with his wife Melania and daughter Ivanka at PS 59 in Manhattan on Tuesday November 8, 2016.

(Susan Watts/New York Daily News)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his wife Melania Trump arrive for a campaign rally the Air Wilmington Hangar located at Wilmington International Airport November 5, 2016 in Wilmington, North Carolina. Trump and his opponent, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, are campaigning in key battleground states that each must win to take the White House.

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Melania Trump and Republican candidate for Vice President Mike Pence watch the final presidential debate at the Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of the University of Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 19, 2016. Democrat Hillary Clinton and rival Donald Trump face off in their last presidential debate on October 19, with the Republican candidate spiraling downward amid allegations of sexual misconduct and wild charges of a 'rigged' US election.

(JOE RAEDLE/AFP/Getty Images)

Republican nominee Donald Trump's wife Melania Trump walks away after the second presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri on October 9, 2016.



Over the course of his decades-long tenure in public life, Trump has disparaged many individuals with whom he disagrees, sometimes using derogatory descriptions or assigning them belittling nicknames.

On Thursday, Trump tweeted derisive comments about 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, saying she had an “Anger Management problem.”

“So ridiculous. Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend!” he wrote. “Chill Greta, Chill!”

Last year, Trump called porn actress Stormy Daniels “Horseface,” he referred last month to former Vice President Joe Biden as “sleepy Joe,” and in July told four minority Congresswomen to “go back” to the country they came from even though all but one had been born in the United States.

Ireland made the comments during a conversation that aired in an episode of Yahoo Finance’s “Influencers with Andy Serwer,” a weekly interview series with leaders in business, politics, and entertainment. 

A supermodel in the ‘80s and ‘90s, Ireland came to prominence when she first appeared on the cover of the Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit edition in 1989. More than two decades later, on February 27, 2012, she made the cover of Forbes as the chief executive of Kathy Ireland Worldwide, a brand empire founded in 1993 that sells fashion and nutrition products, among many others. She has a net worth of nearly half a billion dollars, according to Forbes.

Former supermodel Kathy Ireland, the CEO of Kathy Ireland Worldwide, appears on Influencers with Andy Serwer.


‘We all must just be careful with our words’

Melania Trump launched the anti-cyberbullying campaign “Be Best” last May. It originally focused on a top priority of social media safety, but later the initiative expanded to include online safety in general, not just social media. Other objectives of the effort include “well-being” and “opioid abuse,” according to the “Be Best” website.

“Mrs. Trump believes that children should be both seen and heard, and it is our responsibility as adults to educate and reinforce to them that when they are using their voices — whether verbally or online — they must choose their words wisely and speak with respect and compassion,” the website says.

In 2017, Ireland defended Melania Trump against critics who ridiculed her for prior work as a model.

“It’s not OK for anybody to take swipes at anyone else,” Ireland told Boston Herald Radio. “What message does that send to children? It dehumanizes people.”

Last October, Melania Trump told CNN she was “the most bullied person on the world.”

“We all must just be careful with our words,” Ireland says. “Of course, I've been guilty of having words come out that I wished didn't come out.

“I believe in being quick to think, slow to speak, slow to become angry I think is really good advice,” she adds.

Max Zahn is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Find him on twitter @MaxZahn_.







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