Melania Trump launches 'Be Best' initiative to promote children's well-being

  • First Lady Melania Trump announced the launch on Monday of Be Best, her new policy initiative to promote children's social and emotional well-being.

First Lady Melania Trump announces her 'Be Best' children's initiative in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, May 7, 2018.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images
First Lady Melania Trump announces her 'Be Best' children's initiative in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, May 7, 2018.

First Lady Melania Trump announced the launch on Monday of Be Best, her new policy initiative to promote children's social and emotional well-being.

Speaking at a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, the first lady outlined three pillars Be Best will address: physical and emotional health, responsible social media use and the effects of the opioid crisis on children.

"We can and should teach social and self-awareness, positive relationship skills and responsible decision making," the first lady said. "Let us teach our children the difference between right and wrong, and encourage them to Be Best in their individual paths in life."

The launch of Be Best is Mrs. Trump's most visible action so far as first lady and comes after more than a year during which she has remained largely out of the public eye. It also represented a very visible break from her husband's priorities and his leadership style.

Nowhere was this more apparent Monday than when the first lady warned of the damage that online bullying can do to children and the importance of teaching young people how to respect others online.

"When children learn positive online behaviors early on, social media can be used in productive ways and can effect positive change," she said, noting that too often, social media is used in "negative" ways. "It is our responsibility as adults to educate and remind [children] that when they are using their voices, whether verbally or online, they must choose their words wisely and speak with respect and compassion."

Melania Trump's call for greater respect online stands in contrast to the way her husband, President Donald Trump, often uses social media as a weapon to publicly insult, attack and belittle his opponents.

The president made an impromptu appearance at the Rose Garden ceremony on Monday, where he praised the first lady for her compassion and dedication to helping others.

"Americans have been touched by her sincerity, moved by her grace and lifted by her love," Trump said. "Melania, your care and compassion for our nation's children inspires us all."

U.S. first lady Melania Trump stands with President Donald Trump after he signed the Be Best initiative in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 7, 2018.
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
U.S. first lady Melania Trump stands with President Donald Trump after he signed the Be Best initiative in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 7, 2018.