Politics

First lady Melania Trump loudly booed at opioid event on same day that President Trump donates salary to drug-fighting efforts

Key Points
  • First lady Melania Trump was greeted with resounding boos at an opioid awareness event in Baltimore.
  • That reception came on the same day that her husband, President Donald Trump, donated his salary for the third quarter of the year to combat the opioid crisis.
  • The crisis has been blamed for most of the 70,000 in fatal drug overdoses among Americans in 2017.
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Melania Trump met with cheers and boos before opioid awareness speech

First lady Melania Trump was greeted with resounding boos by students at an opioid awareness event in Baltimore on Tuesday, even as her husband, President Donald Trump, donated his salary for the third quarter of the year to combat the opioid crisis.

Melania Trump was loudly booed as she was introduced at the B'More Youth Summit on Opioid Awareness at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County by Jim Wahlberg, brother of the actors Mark and Donnie Wahlberg.

And the boos continued as she thanked Wahlberg for "the warm introduction," and began speaking to the audience, which was comprised primarily of middle school and high school students.

"I hope that the knowledge you gain here will help you tackle the tough decisions you may be faced with, so that you can live a healthy and drug-free life," she said at the event, wich was organized by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Mark Walhberg Youth Foundation.

"Get involved and be a part of the solution."

The first lady's Be Best public awareness initiative is focused on promoting well-being and online safety for children, as well as combating opioid abuse.

The opioid crisis has been blamed for the majority of the 70,000 fatal overdoses of Americans in 2017.

Later Tuesday, Melania Trump, through White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham, issued a statement in response to the heckling at the event.

"We live in a democracy and everyone is entitled to their opinion, but the fact is we have a serious crisis in our country and I remain committed to educating children on the dangers and deadly consequences of drug abuse," said the first lady.

Baltimore was targeted by President Trump in July, when the president lashed out at Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Democrat whose district included parts of Baltimore city and Baltimore County.

Cummings' "district is a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess," Trump tweeted at the time. "If he spent more time in Baltimore, maybe he could help clean up this very dangerous & filthy place."

Cummings has since died.

Kate Bennett, a CNN reporter and the author of a new biography about Melania Trump, said on Twitter that the audience's reaction to the first lady at the Baltimore event "was the worst booing she has received at a public event where she has given solo remarks."

President Trump in 2017 donated a quarter of his $400,000 annual salary toward efforts to stem the crisis. On Tuesday, the president repeated that donation for that effort.

The president since taking office has committed to donating his entire salary to various causes.

US First Lady Melania Trump arrives to address the B'More Youth Summit in Baltimore, Maryland, on November 26, 2019.
Nicholas Kamm | AFP | Getty Images