Given her husband’s fondness for firing off dubious, often outright offensive missives in less than 140 characters, Melania Trump’s decision to flag the fight against cyber-bullying as her own personal White House crusade has come to feel increasingly ironic.
‘Our culture has gotten too mean and too violent,’ Melania said in a pre-election speech setting out her intentions. ‘It is never OK when a 12-year-old girl or boy is mocked, bullied or attacked. It is terrible when that happens on the playground and it is unacceptable when it’s done by someone with no name hiding on the internet.’ After seven months as First Lady, however, to say that Melania’s campaign hasn’t quite materialised would be something of an understatement: as recently as May, it was described as a work in progress by her press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, who said that ‘Mrs. Trump is being very thoughtful when it comes to building out her initiatives.’
WATCH: From Model To FLOTUS: Melania Trump's Style Evolution
Now, though, it seems that Melania has found a new campaign in which to channel her efforts: the fight against opioid addiction in the USA. ‘Opioids are destroying our youth / people,’ she tweeted yesterday. ‘Mtg [sic] w @POTUS & @SecPriceMD today to give my support to #stopdrugaddiction.’
According to Grisham, Melania’s attendance at the briefing shows her commitment to issues that affect children and young people. ‘Opioid abuse is an escalating health crisis affecting countless families across the country,’ she explained. ‘The well-being of children is a priority for the First Lady, and this epidemic affects them in many different ways so she requested to attend today’s briefing.’
Internet commentators, however, couldn’t fail to have their interest piqued by Melania’s unusual visual messaging. Accompanying her message, she tweeted out a squared-off, low resolution close-up image of a pill bottle, overlaid with ‘STOPDRUGADDICTION’ in red (no spaces required…)
The First Lady’s latest cause is undoubtedly a worthy one. Over 35,000 people died from overdoses of prescription opiates or heroin in the United States in 2015, and addiction to prescription pain killers is currently the leading cause of death in Americans under 50.