On Monday, First Lady Melania Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos traveled to the Detroit suburbs for an event at a middle school meant to commemorate the “Week of Inclusion” that’s part of National Bullying Prevention Month.
As the Detroit Free Press details, Trump and DeVos “spent time talking to many of the students who were in the [school] cafeteria, taking selfies with them and posing for pictures.” Later, they visited a classroom and talked to students about the value of inclusion. One student was made available to talk to journalists during and after the event.
There’s just one problem — Melania Trump’s husband is one of the country’s most notorious bullies. This month alone, President Trump has posted tweets mocking a U.S. senator’s height and calling a congresswoman “wacky.”
The Failing @nytimes set Liddle' Bob Corker up by recording his conversation. Was made to sound a fool, and that's what I am dealing with!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2017
Wacky Congresswoman Wilson is the gift that keeps on giving for the Republican Party, a disaster for Dems. You watch her in action & vote R!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 22, 2017
Melania Trump’s communications director, Stephanie Grisham, was asked by CNN if the First Lady feels “the need to reconcile her platform on bullying with the behavior of the man she married.” Grisham replied that she does not.
“Mrs. Trump is independent and acts independently from her husband. She does what she feels is right, and knows that she has a real opportunity through her role as first lady to have a positive impact on the lives of children. Her only focus is to effect change within our next generation,” Grisham told CNN.
But the First Lady has been complicit in Trump’s bullying. After Trump called MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski “low I.Q. Crazy Mika” and described her as “bleeding badly from a face-lift” during a string of tweets in June, she defended Trump’s widely-denounced attack.
.@StephGrisham45: "As the First Lady has stated publicly in the past, when her husband gets attacked, he will punch back 10 times harder."
— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) June 29, 2017
Trump pledged to make anti-cyberbullying work one of the main focuses of her work as First Lady during the final days of the presidential campaign — a time when her husband was relentlessly attacking the numerous women who accused him of sexual assault. Monday’s event is the first indication that her pledge may end up being being more than mere words.
While Melania and DeVos promoted inclusion during their visit to the Michigan school on Monday, DeVos’ actions are also at odds with her words. The Department of Education she oversees has already rescinded guidance protecting transgender students from discrimination, and earlier this month, the department rescinded protections for students with disabilities.