NEW YORK — Melania Trump gave her most expansive remarks as first lady Wednesday, condemning bullying and calling on world leaders to take their responsibility for guiding the next generation seriously.

“By our own example we must teach children to be good stewards of the world they will inherit,” Trump said at a luncheon she hosted for the spouses of world leaders at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. “We must remember that they are watching and listening … As adults we are not merely responsible. We are accountable.”

Trump’s mention of bullying was immediately complicated because of her husband’s bellicose approach to public life.

From his sneering nicknames for political opponents (“Low Energy Jeb,” “Little Marco”) to his claim that a news anchor was “bleeding badly from a facelift” to his recent promotion on Twitter of a spoof video purporting to show him toppling Hillary Clinton with a golf ball strike to the head, President Trump has drawn frequent criticism that he himself is something of a bully-in-chief.

The first lady’s speech made no mention her husband as she urged the world to “ensure that our children’s future is bright.”

“No child should ever feel hungry, stalked, frightened, terrorized, bullied, isolated or afraid, with nowhere to turn,” Trump said. She added: “We must teach each child the values of empathy … kindness, mindfulness, integrity and leadership which can only be taught by example.”


Eyebrows were immediately raised across the social-media universe of political commentators. “Irony is dead,” tweeted Joy-Anne Reid, a liberal MSNBC host.

Trump has stood by her husband’s tweets in the past. And when he was under fire for past crude remarks he made about women, she explained it away as locker-room talk.

Asked how the first lady’s stance squared with the president’s actions, her communications director, Stephanie Grisham, said that Trump “will not avoid doing what she knows is right, because others think it is a bad idea.”

“This is not about politics,” Grisham added. “This is about using her role as first lady to help as many children as she possibly can.” Last year, late in her husband’s campaign, she first floated the idea of taking on the cause of cyberbullying. Wednesday was the first time since she entered the White House that she revisited the topic

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.