In an ABC interview this week, first lady Melania Trump said she believes she might be the most bullied person alive today.
“I could say that I’m the most bullied person on the world,” she said when asked why she decided to choose cyberbullying as the issue she hopes to fix. Moments later, she doubled down.
“[I’m] one of them,” she added. “If you really see what people are saying about me.”
Watch the video below:
EXCLUSIVE: First lady Melania Trump says her “Be Best” policy platform targeting online bullies is personal. “I could say that I’m the most bullied person in the world,” she tells ABC. https://t.co/iiEv5Z3ijv pic.twitter.com/CWZ7g9by27
— ABC News (@ABC) October 11, 2018
The first lady also dished on life inside the Trump administration. When ABC asked her if she believes there are people in the White House that President Donald Trump cannot trust, she answered yes and added later that “it’s harder to govern.”
More than a few people found the first lady’s remark about the bullying she endures disingenuous. The Atlantic writer David Frum noted that when a writer came under attack from pro-Melania internet trolls, the first lady bluntly responded, “I don’t control my fans.”
When pro-Trump trolls barraged @ioffe with violently misogynistic anti-Semitic images and telephone death threats after truthful reporting on Melania early life in Slovenia, the First Lady said: "I don't control my fans" and "She provoked them." https://t.co/fmssNNL8GY
— David Frum (@davidfrum) October 11, 2018
Former Hillary Clinton adviser Peter Daou was even more blunt, calling the first lady’s remarks “outrageous.”
I make a point to stay away from family members in my political critiques but I'll make some exceptions. #MelaniaTrump saying she's one of the most bullied people in the world when children are kidnapped and caged by the Trump White House is outrageous.https://t.co/qV35ted2Km
— Peter Daou (@peterdaou) October 11, 2018
Others gave Melania a little more empathy. ProPublica’s Jessica Huseman agreed that there are probably people saying awful things about the first lady, but she noted that Melania, unlike a lot of other victims, is in an incredibly powerful position.
I am actually confident that people say horrendous, offensive things about her. That's terrible, and they shouldn't. She is also incredibly powerful, which is not the case for most who are bullied, and what makes this pretty tone deaf. https://t.co/di5YKQ6adY
— Jessica Huseman (@JessicaHuseman) October 11, 2018
The first lady’s “Be Best” initiative that seeks to tackle cyberbullying has hit more snags than successes. The criticism of the campaign began early when people began noting that a pamphlet promoting the initiative was nearly identical to literature from the Obama administration.
Melania has also been criticized for not doing more to combat the bullying undertaken at the thumbs of her husband, who as one of the most powerful users on Twitter, regularly belittles perceived foes and throws more than a few low blows.
But if we’re handing out awards for the “Most Bullied Person in the World,” we should also probably be considering Christine Blasey Ford, who, according to her lawyer, is still unable to return home because of the “unending” death threats that she’s receiving.