First lady Melania Trump is set to sit down with technology industry leaders at the White House on Tuesday for a conversation on cyberbullying and internet safety — against the backdrop of the president's penchant for tweeting insults and name-calling on social media.
Executives from Amazon, Facebook, Google, Twitter and other tech companies are among invited attendees for Tuesday’s roundtable discussion with the first lady, according to a White House official.
The White House says Mrs. Trump will be looking to discuss both the positive and negative impacts of technology on the nation’s children.
“Mrs. Trump has simply asked for a meeting to discuss one of the many things that impact children -- as she has done many times in the past, on several different topics,” the first lady’s spokesperson Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.
Prior to her husband’s election to the White House, Mrs. Trump had said that the issue of cyberbullying would be one of her “main focuses” if she became first lady.
“Our culture has gotten too mean and too rough, especially to children and teenagers. It is never okay 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 absolutely unacceptable when it is done by someone with no name hiding on the internet,” Mrs. Trump said at the time.
In the early months of her time as first lady, Trump backed away from publicly discussing the issue of cyberbullying, leading to speculation that she had abandoned the issue altogether in light of the contrast with the president's frequent social media attacks.
But in a speech at the United Nations in September, the first lady again dove back into the issue, offering her opinion about the need to protect children from negative online experiences.
"We must turn our focus right now to the message and content [children] are exposed to on a daily basis through social media — the bullying, the experience online and in person," the first lady said in September.
Mrs. Trump’s focus on cyberbullying has attracted ridicule given the president’s propensity to name-call and attack his rivals on Twitter. The first lady has made clear she doesn’t approve of all of the president’s Twitter habits and isn’t shy about offering her opinion when she thinks he shouldn’t send a tweet.
“Sometimes he listens, sometimes he doesn’t,” Trump said in an interview with CBS in 2016. “I think he hears me. But he will do what he wants to do in the end. He’s an adult. He knows the consequences. And I give him my opinion. And he could do whatever he likes with it.”