As President Donald Trump was at a raucous Phoenix rally Tuesday night, ranting against the media, reigniting the culture wars and stoking his fans to chant “Lock her up!” in reference to campaign rival Hillary Clinton, his wife Melania Trump was keeping things classy on Twitter.
The First Lady mended fences, at least briefly, with Chelsea Clinton, thanking Hillary Clinton’s daughter for coming to the defense of her 11-year-old son Barron who was criticized in an online post about something he had worn. Melania also took the occasion to denounced bullying against children.
It’s all a bit head-spinning. There’s Trump’s angry, freewheeling speech Tuesday. Then there was his wife’s rapprochement with the daughter of his rival — whom he called a “nasty woman” and taunted at one of their campaign debates by hosting three women who had accused Bill Clinton of sexual misconduct.
More head spinning is the fact that the online attack against Barron came from the Daily Caller, the conservative website founded by Fox News host Tucker Carlson, a regular defender of Trump’s actions and policies. Moreover, the Daily Caller has previously published stories about online jerks who attack Barron, as if to show that liberals and the media have no class, the Washington Post said.
But now it was the Daily Caller showing a lack of class, by publishing a post by entertainment reporter Ford Springer criticizing Barron for wearing a T-shirt and shorts, not something more formal like his parents, while boarding Air Force One on Sunday. The headline read, “It’s High Time Barron Trump Starts Dressing Like He’s In the White House.”
Twitter launched a defense of the boy, with users calling the story “mean spirited” and “shameful” and essentially agreeing that a president’s minor children should be off limits. That Daily Caller writer must have been inundated — or cyberbullied — with negative comments; he blocked non-followers from reading his tweets.
Meanwhile, Melania’s White House spokeswoman asked that the media give Barron his privacy.
And then Chelsea weighed in, tweeting, “It’s high time the media & everyone leave Barron Trump alone & let him have the private childhood he deserves.”
It’s high time the media & everyone leave Barron Trump alone & let him have the private childhood he deserves https://t.co/Wxq51TvgDX
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) August 21, 2017
Chelsea came of age in the White House and has defended Barron in the past. She soon followed up with another message, this time to the Daily Caller writer. She tweeted, “Barron is A KID. No child should be talked about in the below manner-in real life or online. And for an adult to do so? For shame”
Dear Matty-Barron is A KID. No child should be talked about in the below manner-in real life or online. And for an adult to do so? For shame https://t.co/p9jkGbMG4C
— Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) August 22, 2017
Melania Trump responded with a thanking Chelsea Clinton and saying, “so important to support all of our children in being themselves! #StopChildhoodBullying”
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) August 23, 2017
People responding to Melania’s agreed it was nice to see this brief moment of grace between the two women and bipartisanship on the issue of childhood bullying. But they also brought up another head-spinning aspect of all this: that Melania’s husband is known as one of the biggest cyberbullies on the planet.
In fact, his online behavior is perhaps one reason Melania has yet to fulfill her campaign promise to make combating cyberbullying one of her key causes as First Lady.
So, yes, the irony of Melania denouncing any form of bullying was not lost on Twitter users.
Then she has nothing to say on the topic; not a single peep… because her own husband is notoriously the most high profile online bully.
— Rachael (@RousingRabble) August 23, 2017
Some said it’s off-topic to call Melania to task in this discussion, given the graciousness of her response to Chelsea and that the focus should be on cyberbullying and kids. But others disagreed:
Jesus, someone f’ng wake up. She was taking on cyber bullying months ago, no program rolled out until a comment about her son. Wake up.
— Katherine (@ItZmeKatherine) August 23, 2017
They also expressed an ongoing view that Melania should take more responsibility for addressing her husband’s behavior online and in other contexts:
I agree. He sets a horrible example and unfortunately, his wife seems to abandoned her anti-bullying crusade.
— Frannie M. (@fvmcgillicuddy) August 23, 2017
I agree. However, your husband often unfairly denigrates people. Please think of the golden rule and persuade him to do the same.
— Dee W. Carr (@JayneFKay) August 23, 2017
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