TECHNICALLY SPEAKING: While President Trump continues to backpedal from Monday’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, First Lady Melania Trump tried to put her best foot forward Thursday with an appearance at Microsoft Innovation and Policy Center in Washington, D.C.
There to play up her “Be Best” campaign, FLOTUS had a meet-and-greet with students involved in Microsoft’s Council for Digital Good. Made up of 15 students from the U.S., the council offers ideas and feedback for Microsoft’s youth-focused online safety policy work. The First Lady listened in as students presented their art projects that were meant to represent “individual expressions of digital civility,” according to a readout released by her office Thursday afternoon. The students also spelled out their creative process. Trump lent an ear to learn about the 15 tenets of responsible digital behavior established by the teenage council.
Thursday’s appearance follows pointed critiques of the First Lady in The Washington Post, The New York Times and other media outlets on the heels of the Trumps’ weeklong NATO-U.K.-Helsinki trip. Regardless of what the incentive for the meeting with the Microsoft-affiliated students was, Trump offered her own takeaway in the readout from the event.
“To see students taking action and being positive leaders in the digital world for youth is exactly what ‘Be Best’ is focused on,” she said. “Peer-to-peer leadership can be one of the strongest influences on our children. Using their artistic talents, these students provide unique perspectives on how youth should conduct themselves responsibly online. Thank you to Microsoft for having me, and to the students of the council for sharing their impressive and encouraging work.”
The need to stop cyberbullying is one of the issues that Trump has addressed in her public appearances. When launching the “Be Best” campaign in May in Washington, FLOTUS outlined the initiative’s three pillars as “wellbeing, social media use and opioid abuse.” At that time, she thanked cabinet secretaries in attendance, as well as representatives from Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Snap, Amazon, the National Safety Council and more. Trump vowed to keep speaking with tech leaders about children’s online habits and raising awareness of positive behaviors.