MARCH 7, 2020
Hillary Clinton on Thursday took a sideswipe at first lady Melania Trump and her “Be Best” initiative.
“I think she should look closer to home,” Clinton said on Andy Cohen’s “Watch What Happens Live” when asked how she feels about the first lady’s anti-cyberbullying initiative, suggesting she should examine her husband’s online behavior.
The first lady’s initiative works to promote well-being, online safety and opioid abuse among children. At times, Melania Trump has promoted anti-cyberbullying tips as part of her campaign — immediately drawing attention to her husband’s penchant for Twitter-based attacks.
In December, the president targeted 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg after she won Time magazine person of the year, posting on Twitter that the activist must work on her “Anger Management problem.” Despite championing her initiative that promotes internet kindness, Melania Trump remained quiet.
In 2018 remarks, the first lady defended Be Best, said she wasn’t “surprised” at the criticism and that she remained “committed to tackling” the problem of cyberbullying. “And I hope that like I do, you will consider using their negative words as motivation to do all you can to bring awareness and understanding about responsible online behavior,” she said.
It’s not abnormal for sitting first ladies to solicit advice from their predecessors, but there are no signs that Hillary Clinton and Melania Trump have spoken about the role. Clinton is the unique example of a former first lady who also ran for president, however — and the bitter 2016 campaign left bruised feelings on both sides. A spokesman for Clinton did not respond to a request for comment.
Usually, the handoff from one East Wing is a smooth and cordial affair. Laura Bush reached out to Michelle Obama to let her know she was “just a call away,” and Obama extended a similar courtesy to Melania Trump when her family moved into the White House.
But Melania Trump never reached out to her for advice, she has said.
“No, no she hasn’t,” Obama said during a 2018 interview.
“Mrs. Trump is a strong and independent woman who has been navigating her role as first lady in her own way,” the first lady’s spokeswoman said in response. “When she needs advice on any issue, she seeks it from her professional team within the White House.”