Melania Trump's anti-bullying speech raises eyebrows online

Far right: US First Lady Melania Trump speaking at a luncheon for spouses of world leaders at the US Mission to the UN in New York on Wednesday. Some social media users mocked her speech against bullying given that President Donald Trump himself has
US First Lady Melania Trump speaking at a luncheon for spouses of world leaders at the US Mission to the UN in New York on Wednesday. Some social media users mocked her speech against bullying given that President Donald Trump himself has drawn frequent criticism over his bellicose rhetoric.PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Far right: US First Lady Melania Trump speaking at a luncheon for spouses of world leaders at the US Mission to the UN in New York on Wednesday. Some social media users mocked her speech against bullying given that President Donald Trump himself has
US First Lady Melania Trump speaking at a luncheon for spouses of world leaders at the US Mission to the UN in New York on Wednesday. Some social media users mocked her speech against bullying given that President Donald Trump himself has drawn frequent criticism over his bellicose rhetoric.PHOTOS: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

NEW YORK • Mrs Melania Trump has given her most expansive remarks as First Lady, condemning bullying and calling on world leaders to take their responsibility for guiding the next generation seriously.

"By our own example, we must teach children to be good stewards of the world they will inherit," Mrs Trump said at a luncheon she hosted on Wednesday for the spouses of world leaders at the United States Mission to the United Nations.

"We must remember that they are watching and listening... As adults, we are not merely responsible. We are accountable."

Mrs Trump's mention of bullying was immediately complicated because of her husband's bellicose approach to public life.

From his nicknames for political opponents ("Low Energy" Jeb Bush and "Little Marco" Rubio, among others), to his claim that a news anchor was "bleeding badly from a facelift", to his recent promotion on Twitter of a spoof video purporting to show him toppling former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton with a golf ball strike to the head, President Donald Trump has drawn frequent criticism that he himself is something of a bully-in-chief.

The First Lady's speech made no mention of her husband as she urged the world to "ensure that our children's future is bright".

Eyebrows were immediately raised across the social media universe of political commentators.

"Irony is dead," tweeted Ms Joy-Ann Reid, a liberal MSNBC host.

Mrs Trump has stood by her husband's tweets in the past. And when he came under fire for past crude remarks he made about women, she called it locker-room talk.

Her speech, which lasted seven minutes, was devoid of clear policy prescriptions or a push for any specific programme, though she said she plans to follow up with social media leaders and educators on the topic.

WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 22, 2017, with the headline 'Melania Trump's anti-bullying speech raises eyebrows online'. Print Edition | Subscribe