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President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump with students in the Oval Office at the announcement of the initiative

Be Best is a public awareness campaign promoted by United States First Lady Melania Trump, focusing on well-being for youth, and advocating against cyberbullying and drug (particularly opioid) use.[1][2]

HistoryEdit

Melania Trump made the initiative as a way to address online behavior and the opioid crisis, and came up with the name "Be Best". Her husband Donald Trump reportedly tried to persuade her to change topics so she could avoid dealing with his own Twitter habits, but Mrs. Trump said she was willing to face any criticism.[3][4] She formally introduced the campaign on May 7, 2018. Following her speech in the White House Rose Garden, President Donald Trump signed a proclamation declaring May 7 "Be Best" day.[5][6][7] Unlike policy initiatives by previous first ladies (such as Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign against childhood obesity, or Nancy Reagan's Just Say No to drugs campaign), Be Best is broad in scope. The initiative focuses on physical and emotional well-being, and also advocates against cyberbullying and opioid abuse.[8]

The initiative began with a slow start, as Mrs. Trump underwent kidney surgery one week after the campaign was launched. She made no public appearances for the next several weeks.[9] On July 24, 2018, she visited the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee and talked about children with neonatal withdrawal.[10] On August 6, 2018, she tweeted: "It's #Backtoschool for many youth this month. As you begin a new year, how will you be the best you? #BeBest".[11] She held a cyberbullying summit outside Washington, D.C. on August 20, 2018.[12]

CriticismEdit

The campaign was accompanied by a booklet that was promoted as having been written "by First Lady Melania Trump and the Federal Trade Commission" (FTC), but it was nearly identical to a document prepared by the commission in 2014.[13] The similarities prompted accusations of plagiarism, to which her office responded by admonishing the press for reporting on the issue.[14] Following the plagiarism accusations the White House's website changed the copy to read "a Federal Trade Commission booklet, promoted by First Lady Melania Trump".[15]

The fact-checking site Snopes found the charge of plagiarism "Mostly False", saying: "Melania Trump did not claim she had written the pamphlet herself, and she contributed an introduction to a slightly revised version of the booklet. The FTC was always credited for the creation of the booklet and supported its inclusion in the First Lady's "Be Best" campaign."[16]

The slogan "Be Best" has also been criticized for having an apparent grammatical error, as it is missing a definite article.[17][18][19][20] The Guardian noted Mrs. Trump's native language, Slovenian, does not use definite articles, and speculated whether the name constituted one-upmanship after Michelle Obama's call to "Be Better".[21] Mrs. Trump's senior adviser, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, called the slogan "illiterate" and pushed for an alternative slogan, "Children First", which the First Lady rejected due to the similarities with her husband's "America First" branding.[22]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Superville, Darlene (May 7, 2018). "Melania Trump launches 'BE BEST' awareness campaign for kids". San Francisco Chronicle. Associated Press. Archived from the original on May 8, 2018. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
  2. ^ Rhodan, Maya (May 7, 2018). "Melania Trump Launches 'Be Best' to Focus on Cyberbullying". Time. Archived from the original on July 14, 2018. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  3. ^ Rogers, Katie; Davis, Julie Hirschfeld; Haberman, Maggie (August 17, 2018). "Melania Trump, a Mysterious First Lady, Weathers a Chaotic White House". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 20, 2018. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  4. ^ Wise, Justin (August 17, 2018). "Trump tried to dissuade Melania from 'Be Best' anti-bullying campaign: report". The Hill. Archived from the original on February 17, 2019. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  5. ^ "Melania Trump unveils 'Be Best' campaign for children". BBC News. May 7, 2018. Archived from the original on May 10, 2018. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
  6. ^ Rocha, Veronica; Wagner, Meg (May 7, 2018). "Melania Trump speaks: Live updates". CNN. Archived from the original on September 28, 2019. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
  7. ^ Pappas, Alex (May 7, 2018). "Melania Trump unveils 'Be Best' initiative to help kids". Fox News. Archived from the original on January 15, 2019. Retrieved May 7, 2018.
  8. ^ McCammon, Sarah (May 7, 2018). "First Lady Melania Trump Unveils 'Be Best' Campaign, Focusing On Children". NPR. Archived from the original on May 10, 2018. Retrieved July 31, 2018.
  9. ^ McCammon, Sarah (June 7, 2018). "One Month Later, What's Become Of Melania Trump's 'Be Best' Campaign?". NPR. Archived from the original on February 12, 2019. Retrieved July 31, 2018.
  10. ^ Bennett, Kate (July 24, 2018). "Melania Trump pushes 'Be Best' initiative with trip to Nashville". CNN. Archived from the original on August 10, 2018. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  11. ^ Stewart, Chelsea (August 8, 2018). "Melania Trump's Tweet About "Be Best" Back-To-School Tips Totally Backfired". Elite Daily. Archived from the original on August 9, 2018. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  12. ^ Phelps, Jordyn (August 20, 2018). "First lady Melania Trump speaks out against cyberbullying". ABC News. Archived from the original on August 25, 2018. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  13. ^ Smith, David (May 8, 2018). "Melania Trump in new plagiarism row over online safety pamphlet". The Guardian. Archived from the original on May 22, 2018. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  14. ^ Rogers, Katie (May 8, 2018). "As Melania Trump Faces Plagiarism Claims, Her Staff Lashes Out at News Media". The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 11, 2019. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  15. ^ Seipel, Brooke (May 8, 2018). "Melania Trump 'Be Best' pamphlet was first published by Obama's FTC". The Hill. Archived from the original on May 10, 2018. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  16. ^ Evon, Dan (May 8, 2018). "Did Melania Trump Plagiarize a Pamphlet for the 'Be Best' Campaign?". Snopes. Archived from the original on September 28, 2019. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  17. ^ Schwedel, Heather (May 7, 2018). ""Be Best" Has to Be Bad on Purpose, Right?". Slate. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  18. ^ Kwong, Jessica (May 7, 2018). "What does "Be Best" mean? Melania Trump unveils a new initiative aimed at helping children". Newsweek. Archived from the original on March 12, 2019. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  19. ^ Waldman, Katy (May 8, 2018). "The Childlike Strangeness of Melania Trump's "Be Best" Campaign". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on May 10, 2018. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  20. ^ "Melania Trump's new initiative needs a new name". San Francisco Chronicle. May 8, 2018. Archived from the original on April 2, 2019. Retrieved December 14, 2018.
  21. ^ Hill, Tim (May 8, 2018). "'Be Best': does Melania Trump's oddly named initiative break the laws of grammar?". The Guardian. Archived from the original on June 8, 2018. Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  22. ^ Fox, Emily Jane (February 7, 2019). ""I Am Disgusted": Behind The Scenes of Trump's Increasingly Scrutinized $107 Million Inauguration". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on February 11, 2019. Retrieved February 8, 2019.

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