Melania Trump vows to fight cyber bullies as first lady

Melania Trump vows to fight cyber bullies as first lady
Melania and Ivanka Trump sit next to Republican vice presidential nominee Governor Mike Pence ahead of the start. REUTERS/Joe Raedle/Pool

Since taking a gilded escalator with her husband Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump at his Fifth Avenue Trump Tower skyscraper in June last year when he announced his decision to run for president, Melania Trump has adopted a low profile in his campaign for the Republican Party nomination.

“She isn’t necessarily engaged in the kinds of American institutions that many first ladies have been,” said David Birdsell, Marxe Dean of the Austin W. Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College in New York City.

There’s always been a sort of signature issue at least in modern history that first ladies are interested in – education and reading if it’s Laura Bush; and nutrition and exercise if it’s Michelle Obama; in beautification of the nation’s highways if it’s Lady Bird Johnson, et cetera, et cetera; or somebody like Hillary Clinton who when first lady, of course served in important policy roles and steered, not very successfully, but steered the president’s health policy initiative in the first Clinton term. So, the question is, is there such a thing for Melania Trump?” he continued.

Recently, Melania Trump said on Thursday (November 3) the culture of social media has gotten “too mean and too rough” and vowed to focus on encouraging more respectful dialogue particularly among children and teenagers, if she were to become the first lady of the United States.

“We have to find a better way to talk to each other, to disagree with each other, to respect each other,” Melania Trump said as she campaigned for her husband.

Melania Trump stressed that her work would focus on younger people.

“As adults, many of us are able to handle mean words, even lies. Children and teenagers can be fragile. They are hurt when they are made fun of or made to feel less in looks or intelligence,” she said.

Business mogul and former reality television star Trump is widely seen as a proponent of harsh and sometimes controversial language on the campaign trail and particularly on social media. He vanquished his opponents for the Republican nomination by saddling them with unflattering descriptions such as “dopey” or “low energy.” His fondness for insults prompted The New York Times to catalog the hundreds of insults Trump has made on social media attacking his opponents, critics, members of the media and major organization since joining the presidential race in 2015.

“There would be a delicious irony to think that Donald Trump’s spouse would be the person trying to trend against cyberbullying,” said Birdsell.

Melania Trump may trace her road to the White House back to 1987 and a chance encounter in the capital of her native Slovenia.

Black-and-white pictures of the 17-year-old known then as Melanija Knavs – round face, bare feet, hair in a ponytail – launched a career that would take to her to Milan and the United States, where she met Donald Trump at a party in New York in 1998.

The future Mrs. Trump did not look back, changing her name to the more easily pronounceable Melania Knauss.

Though not quite a tale of rags to riches, the lifestyle she leads as the third wife of the billionaire businessman is a far cry from her roots in Slovenia, a tiny former Yugoslav republic of two million people, comparable in size to New Jersey and nestled in the Julian Alps between Italy, Croatia, Austria and Hungary.

Residents of the small town of Sevnica in southeastern Slovenia, where Melania grew up on the banks of the River Sava, say her father sold car parts and her mother worked for a factory that made children’s clothing and was often seen sewing late into the evening at home.

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