On Monday, Oct. 23, First Lady Melania Trump is making a surprise trip to a middle school in the Detroit suburbs, which means her anti-bullying campaign is apparently still happening. Earlier this year, Trump promised to make anti-bullying a large focus in her role as the first lady, and she is following through with those plans. Her visit revolves around speaking with and eating lunch with children from the school as part of a "No One Eats Alone Day" event.
The organization Beyond Differences, which exists to prevent bullying and unhealthy school experiences, helped create the "No One Eats Alone Day," a student-led lunchtime initiative that, in so many words, aims to eliminate social isolation by making sure no one eats alone.
During the first lady's speech at United Nations in September, Trump announced that she would use her position to combat childhood issues, such as bullying. She said,
Together, we must acknowledge that all too often it is the weakest, most innocent and vulnerable among us — our children — who ultimately suffer the most from the challenges that plague our societies. Whether it is drug addiction, bullying, poverty, disease, trafficking, illiteracy or hunger, it is the children who are hit first and hardest in any country. And as we all know, the future of every nation rests with the promise of their young people.
Trump received major social media backlash for her speech at the U.N., not because of the actual contents of her speech, but because of the irony of her husband's history of bully language and name-calling. People took to Twitter to point out the hypocrisy of it all.
In addition that, Trump received a personal reprimand from a school librarian after donating Dr. Seuss children's books to celebrate National Read A Book Day. Her efforts to define her legacy as first lady have been off to a rough start, so it's crucial for her to regain momentum and repair her advocacy efforts, if she has any hope in making her mark. Tackling an issue such as bullying, that is entirely independent from her husband and reflective of only her legacy, is an important move on Trump's end.
Trump's communications director Stephanie Grisham told CNN that the first lady does not plan on using her platform to apologize for her husband, or focus on him at all. Grisham said,
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.
The decision to combat anti-bullying was researched and well-planned, according to Grisham. She went on to say,
In doing research for her platform, the first lady learned of #NoOneEatsAlone. She wants to talk to kids about the importance of being inclusive and the negative effects of social isolation. This kind of activity also fosters integrity and leadership in young kids.
Trump also foreshadowed her anti-bullying efforts when she thanked Chelsea Clinton on Twitter for defending her son, Barron Trump, after being bullied by a media publication for his outfit choices. Trump wrote, "Thank you [Chelsea Clinton] - so important to support all of our children in being themselves! #StopChildhoodBullying"
Trump's trip to Michigan is her first public trip as part of her anti-bullying campaign, marking the beginning of likely more solo trips like this one. According to Grisham, the president fully supports Trump's endeavors. "The President is supportive of all that Mrs. Trump does," she said.