This week, the world’s politicians have been speech-making and schmoozing at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. It’s been a tumultuous affair, thanks largely to the blustering presence of President Donald Trump. But after her husband shocked the world by threatening to “totally destroy North Korea”, Melania Trump delivered a speech of her own – and it didn’t go down too well.
Speaking at a UN luncheon on Wednesday, the US first lady called on the international community to help her end cyberbullying. Many people have now accused her of hypocrisy, given that her husband is renowned for his mean-spirited presence on social media.
“No child should ever feel hungry, stalked, frightened, terrorised, bullied, isolated or afraid, with nowhere to turn,” said Trump in her speech, per Politico.
“Nothing could be more urgent nor worthy a cause than preparing future generations for adulthood with true moral clarity and responsibility.”
She urged the luncheon’s attendees to take action and set a good example to young people on social media.
“It remains our generation’s moral imperative to take responsibility for what our children learn,” she said. “We must turn our focus right now to the message and content they are exposed to on a daily basis – social media.”
Many Twitter users were quick to point out that if the first lady really cared about creating a less aggressive online world, she could start by having a word with her husband.
President Trump was recently accused of promoting violence after he re-tweeted a fake GIF (from an anti-Semitic account) of him hitting Hillary Clinton with a golf ball. He also regularly takes to social media to insult people he dislikes.
Others observed that even President Trump’s speech at the UN was bullying in tone. In the jaw-dropping address – his first to the UN – the president escalated nuclear tensions between the US and North Korea and mocked leader Kim Jong Un as a “Rocket Man on a suicide mission”.
He also suggested that he might pull the US out of the nuclear deal with Iran, which he described as a “corrupt dictatorship”.
This is not the first time that Melania Trump has professed her commitment to ending cyberbullying. Months before her husband was elected as president, she told CNN that it would be her focus as first lady. However, beyond delivering the (very) occasional speech on the subject, it is not clear what exactly she intends to do to weed out the problem.
Hillary Clinton, who dedicated herself to devising a better US healthcare system during her time as first lady, has said that she supports Trump’s pledge to combat cyberbullying – although she expressed scepticism as to whether Trump would actually make good on her promise.
“I think it’s a really important issue, and if she were serious and able to follow through on it, I bet there would be so many people who would be willng to try and help her out on that,” she told Mic.
Images: Rex Features