Melania takes victory lap for her 'Be Best' anti-bullying campaign after Capitol riot
Her husband was impeached Wednesday for inciting insurrection and his followers continue to plan further violence in far-right corners of the internet.
Two days after Donald Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives for inciting insurrectionists to attack the U.S. Capitol, first lady Melania Trump took to Twitter Friday to boast about the success of her “Be Best” initiative — a program that began as an anti-bullying initiative and has emphasized online safety in the past.
In a tweet Friday accompanying a promotional video for “Be Best,” Melania Trump claimed the initiative has been a resounding success.
“As the legacy of #BeBest comes to a close at the @WhiteHouse, we must continue to give a voice to our Nation’s children & the issues that impact their lives,” she tweeted. “It’s the values & spirit of the American people that inspired Be Best & it’s those values that will carry on its mission.”
The accompanying three-and-a-half-minute video talks about how the program was inspired by “compassion, strength, and kindness,” and boasts of how Americans “have unwavering resolve to help one another and share a common bond in wanting to create a better future for our next generation.”
In a voiceover, the first lady also emphasizes the importance of teaching youth “about the importance of their well-being, both mentally and physically” and that this “includes understanding online safety and the dangers of opioid and drug abuse.”
But Melania’s “Be Best” promotional rings hollow in light of the violent attempted takeover of the Capitol Jan. 6 by far-right extremists that her husband egged on, leaving five dead.
Not only was the violence at the Capitol almost exclusively planned online — in both mainstream and underground channels — but Trump himself was shortly thereafter banned from Twitter and Facebook, among other social media platforms, for his role in encouraging the attack and continuing to incite violence online.
The program has had a mixed legacy. In May 2019, former Fox host Eric Bolling, fired in 2017 for sending graphic sexual photos of male genitalia to women at work, was a featured speaker at one of her events.
Given Donald Trump’s online bullying of elected officials and others, Melania Trump’s staff quietly attempted to shift the program’s goalposts last year, claiming that the emphasis of the initiative was no longer on “anti-bullying” but on online safety as a whole.
On Wednesday, Trump became the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice, with the House voting 232-197 to impeach him for inciting insurrection.
Experts have also warned that future violence is being planned in other far-right sectors of the internet now that instigating Trump supporters have been banned from other major channels.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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