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Melania Trump unveils wide-ranging platform on children’s issues

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Melania Trump is stepping more fully into the spotlight as first lady, revealing Monday a new platform for tackling multiple issues relevant to American children.

“I am very excited to announce Be Best, an awareness campaign dedicated to the most valuable and fragile among us — our children,” Trump said. “There is one goal to Be Best — and that is to educate children about the many issues they are facing today.”

Trump said Be Best would have three main areas of focus: well-being, social media use and opioid abuse. 

“Let us teach our children the difference between right and wrong, and encourage them to Be Best in their individual paths in life,” Trump said.

“We can and should teach children the importance of social and self-awareness, positive relationship skills and responsible decisionmaking,” Trump said, as she addressed the well-being portion of the campaign.

Social media, Trump said, “can both positively and negatively affect our children. But too often, it is used in negative ways.”

“When children learn positive online behaviors early on, social media can be used in productive ways and can affect positive change.”

Saying she first learned about “the real consequences of our nation’s opioid epidemic” during her husband’s White House bid, Trump told the crowd she intends to “work with those who are fighting drug addiction.”

The far-reaching agenda announced in the White House’s Rose Garden nearly 16 months after her husband took office marks an unorthodox approach for a modern first lady. Melania Trump’s executive mansion predecessors have focused their energies on specific, single subjects.

“The unique aspect to this rollout is that she’s not choosing just one topic as has been done in the past,” spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said ahead of Monday’s announcement.

{mosads}Former first lady Michelle Obama took on a series of campaigns, including her anti-childhood obesity “Let’s Move!” initiative, along with efforts focused on military families and girls’ education.

A former librarian, Laura Bush championed childhood literacy and education programs during her time in the White House. 

President Trump was on hand for the initiative’s launch, saying, “America is truly blessed to have a first lady who is so devoted to our country and to our children.”

“Melania, your care and compassion for our nation’s children — and I have to say this, and I say it to you all the time — inspires us all,” the president said.

As his wife looked on, Trump signed a “Be Best” proclamation, declaring Monday as “Be Best Day.” 

In the past, Melania Trump, a 48-year-old former model, has faced criticism for speaking out against cyber bullying. After she denounced childhood online bullies, critics pointed to President Trump’s well-known propensity for name-calling and engaging in wars of words with his political opponents on Twitter.

Melania Trump addressed her critics head-on at a March meeting with tech company leaders to discuss cyber bullying.

“It will not stop me from doing what I know is right,” Trump, a mom to 12-year-old Barron, told the group. “I’m here with one goal: helping children in our next generation.”

Trump’s announcement comes as she’s seen her popularity soar amid several controversies involving her husband — including an alleged payment to Stormy Daniels to keep the adult-film star quiet about her claims of a 2006 affair with the then-New York real estate mogul.

A CNN poll released on Monday found that Melania Trump had a 57 percent favorability rating among respondents, up 10 percentage points from January.

—Updated at 3:52 p.m.

Tags Be Best children Donald Trump First Lady Melania Trump Michelle Obama

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