Melania Trump’s cyberbullying initiative has booklets that very similar to ones published under Obama
Melania Trump stepped into her role as First Lady on Monday and launched BE BEST, an initiative to “help our children manage the many issues they are facing today.”
BE BEST seeks to reinforce healthy behavior on social media in kids, reminding them to “choose their words wisely and speak with respect and compassion.”
If you look past the irony — the New York Times has a running list of all the people, places, and things the president has insulted over Twitter — BE BEST seems like an overall positive initiative.
Its materials are also really similar to one that was published during the Obama administration.
BuzzFeed’s Ryan Macc pointed out some the similarities between the material. According to BE BEST’s website, “Talking with Kids About Being Online” is “a booklet by First Lady Melania Trump and the Federal Trade Commission.”
Its cover is nearly identical the cover for “NET CETERA,” a booklet the Federal Trade Commission released in January 2014.
They’re not exactly the same — “NET CETERA” features some very 2014 looking phones. The phone icon for 2018’s booklet depicts a sleek iPhone-looking device instead of a clunky generic smartphone.
At least the Trump administration has some original content in their booklet. The 2014 version about sexting explains that kids could be “breaking the law if they create, forward, or even save this kind of message.”
The 2018 version says the exact same thing, except its header was updated with: “Sexting: Don’t Do It.”
Granted, “Talking to Kids About Being Online” includes some personal touches from the first lady.
The 2018 booklet even includes this nice signed note from Melania herself! It encourages anyone who has a “young person in [their] life” to “communicate your values clearly so your kids can make thoughtful decisions when they face tricky situations.”
Does the first lady remind her husband of these values? We just want to know.
Of course, this wouldn’t mean so much if President Trump didn’t use every opportunity to bash the Obama administration and everything it accomplished.
A spokesperson for the First Lady told NBC News the FTC approached FLOTUS to include the pamphlet as a resource.
“The FTC approached us to include this as a good resource and we were happy to do so. It is a government resource, which is meant to be distributed,” a spokesperson told NBC.
This isn’t the first time that people have noticed similarities between the two administrations. In 2016, Melania Trump was accused of plagiarizing a 2008 speech by Michelle Obama.
The Trump campaign didn’t deny the accusations. In a statement, the campaign said Melania’s team of writers “included fragments that reflected her own thinking.”
UPDATE: May 8, 2018, 9:40 a.m. PDT: The White House released a statement on Tuesday, claiming Melania is using BE BEST to help distribute the pamphlet. As reported by BuzzFeed, the White House also change some of the language on its site, describing the pamphlet as “a booklet by First Lady Melania Trump and the FTC” to “a FTC booklet, promoted by first lady Melania Trump” after inquiries from the media on the First Lady’s involvement.
After giving a strong speech that was met with a standing ovation and positive feedback, the focus from opposition media has been on an educational booklet, “Talking with Kids About Being Online” produced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2009. Mrs. Trump agreed to add Be Best branding and distribute the booklet in an effort to use her platform to amplify the positive message within. As she said in yesterday’s speech, she is going to use Be Best to promote people and organizations to encourage conversation and replication, and helping the FTC distribute this booklet is just one small example.
WATCH: Presidents Trump and Macron dug a tree and somehow that became a meme. The Internet is unpredictable.