The media’s Melania: how the media has shaped the public’s view on the first lady

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The voice of @readlDonaldTrump is not a silent one. From criticizing Amazon’s agreement with the US Postal Service to saying, “Mission Accomplished!” to U.S.-led airstrikes on Syria, the President’s social media presence is anything but a private one.

From the time the Trumps entered the White House, the first lady has been associated with her husband’s actions. The media has called out her “constant frown” as a cry for help and questioned the state of their marriage when they don’t hold hands.

Melania, unlike her husband, is rarely heard. One of the first times she spoke was at the Republican National Convention in 2016, where she was criticized for plagiarizing paragraphs from Michelle Obama’s speech eight years prior. Immediately following her speech, the Chicago Tribune release a story pointing to Melania’s white privilege that “explains why [she] has been treated so delicately.”

Celebrities have also questioned Melania’s lack of communication with the public regarding her husband’s actions. In an interview with The New York Times, Meryl Streep called out Melania for not addressing the accusations against her husband during the Me Too movement. “I want to hear about the silence of Melania Trump. I want to hear from her … I want her to speak now,” Streep said.

Further criticism comes from Melania’s cyberbully initiative. Instead of highlighting the specific aims of her initiative, the media called her out for choosing work that conflicts with the actions of her husband. Melania said in a CNN article, “I am well aware that people are skeptical of me discussing this topic. I have been criticized for my commitment to tacking this issue and I know that will continue. But it will not stop me from doing what I know it right.”

Melania’s initiative is focused on educating adults on how to take the lead in helping children manage the problems they are facing with cyber bullying. Recently, she gave a presentation to spouses of U.S governors titled, “Positive Habits on Social Media.”

“She is an independent woman who is doing what she feels is right for children,” said Melania’s communications director Stephanie Grisham in a CNN article. “This should be celebrated, not criticized. Our hope is that people will be supportive of the goal to do all we can to help children grow up to be happy, healthy, and morally responsible adults.”

Some argue that while Melania’s quiet demeanor may appear to leave plenty room for criticism, first lady is more focused on what she can do as an individual than responding to critics. According to an opinion article published in The Hill, “She is acting independently of her husband and his best interests, rather than sacrificing her own interests for the good of the administration.”

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