Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary for First Lady Melania Trump’s initiative Be Best. The occasion was celebrated at the White House in the Rose Garden with members of President Trump’s cabinet, partners in the initiative, and even a high school robotics team. As you might expect, the media reaction was less than enthusiastic for the First Lady’s pet project. She’s married to Donald Trump, you see, so any good work she does must be downplayed by the left simply because of that fact.
CNN’s Jim Sciutto mocked the anniversary celebration by putting tweets from President Trump on the screen. He ran through eight tweets in total. “Is that Be Best?” he asked after reading two that were directed at the late Senator John McCain. After six tweets directed at an assortment of 2020 Democrat presidential primary candidates, Sciutto sneered, “When it comes to the First Lady’s Be Best initiative, it does not seem the president gets the message.” The point missed here, of course, is that the Be Best initiative is the First Lady’s, separate from the president. Did CNN anchors drag President Obama’s behavior, often divisive, into news reports to virtue-signal against any of Michelle Obama’s projects? That’s a rhetorical question. The answer is no.
Melania Trump introduced Be Best a year ago with the initiative’s mission stated “to focus on some of the major issues facing children today, with the goal of encouraging children to BE BEST in their individual paths, while also teaching them the importance of social, emotional, and physical health. BE BEST will concentrate on three main pillars: well-being, online safety, and opioid abuse.” It’s a controversial road for her to travel, to be sure, given the public discourse coming from her husband and his opponents. She, however, has risen above the fray and worked as her predecessors have on projects close to her heart. Melania Trump clearly loves children and wants to do whatever she can with the platform given to her to promote their well-being.
Mrs. Trump has traveled domestically and internationally to promote Be Best and cultivate partnerships. She traveled to the U.K. and Africa last year. She was well-received. Yet, at home, she is criticized for not jumping into policy matters, especially on the subject of immigration policy. As an immigrant though, she knows all too well the importance of national sovereignty and secure borders. She traveled to the southern border without President Trump last year and visited detention centers to check on the conditions and well-being of the children and families. She supports ICE and the Border Patrol officers.
She holds town halls and events to promote safety online for school children and promotes education about drug abuse, concentrating on opioid abuse. Her visitis usually focus on hospital visits or to schools, though she also visits partners in the business community. Most importantly she has begun to push back on reporting on rumors and nasty innuendo instead of what she is actually doing.
“I challenge the press to devote as much time to the lives lost and the potential lives that could be saved by dedicating the same amount of coverage that you do to idle gossip or trivial stories,” she said at a town hall in Las Vegas.
The first lady said that 72,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2017.
“When we see breaking news on TV or the front pages of newspapers, it is my hope that it can be about how many lives we were able to save through education and honest dialogue,” she added.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 7, 2019
So, Melania Trump used the one-year anniversary celebration to acknowledge the work of volunteers and leaders in the efforts of the initiative. She included recognizing a high school robotics team’s development of a customized wheelchair for a Minnesota boy. The teenagers were thrilled to be invited to the White House, as was their team coach.
The Farmington High School robotics team was recognized Tuesday by the first lady for building a customized wheelchair for a Burnsville boy.
The team and the boy’s family were invited to be part of the first anniversary of Melania Trump’s “Be Best” initiative, which supports programs that better the lives of children.
“This is truly what it means to be best,” she said. “Thank you for what you have done to change the little boy’s life.”
The team was recognized for their project that produces life-changing products for children with disabilities.
The team’s moment of fame, which has been gaining momentum since December, lasted about three minutes and was situated toward the end of the program.
“It was one of the most amazing experiences of my whole life,” said Nicole Cash, one of the students chosen out of the team of 26 to go to the White House. “It was super exciting. I’m so proud of our whole team.”
Elvebak got the invite last week after media buzz from their first Go Baby Go project made national news. The project, patterned after a Delaware University program, takes a power ride-on toy that can be purchased in most toy stores and adapts it for children with disabilities to give them off-road mobility.
The First Lady also took the opportunity to announce that Be Best will be expanded. She said she will be taking another international trip but did not announce where the trip will take her yet. Partners in the initiative were present in the Rose Garden and spoke approvingly of Melania’s work.
Several “Be Best” partners said that Mrs. Trump’s very presence had been a powerful symbol of the program’s ethos. Francis S. Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, said the first lady had been “such an encouragement” with her visits to the institutes’ Children’s Inn, pointing out that one patient, a child named Amani with sickle-cell disease who met the first lady on Valentine’s Day, was present for the ceremony on Tuesday.
“I watched the first lady model the power of in-person caring when she helped Amani and the other children decorate cookies and make cards,” Dr. Collins said. “That was real time kindness in action. We need more of that.”
Thank you @rogue_robotics for changing the life of Rocco and his family @tgwrh. This is what it truly means to be #BEBEST
It was wonderful to have all of you at the @WhiteHouse yesterday. pic.twitter.com/JIynuiDW1B
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) May 8, 2019
"Microsoft has been committed to the principles advanced through Be Best, protecting children, teens, and individuals online for the last two decades." #BeBest
— Ms. Toni Townes-Whitley, President of Microsoft's U.S. Public Sector division pic.twitter.com/Hb4PzLk08R
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 7, 2019