President Donald Trump may be one of the most polarizing figures of our time, which means that his wife often gets either overlooked as the victim of a tense marriage that got thrust into the spotlight or lauded as a resistor inside the White House. It’s moments like this though — her less-than-helpful comments on the Me Too movement — that remind us that Melania Trump is at the very least complicit and possibly totally on board with all the hate constantly coming from her husband.
In an interview with ABC this week, the First Lady was asked about the current trajectory of the Me Too movement in the light of the recent divisive Brett Kavanaugh supreme court hearings and sexual assault allegations. Rather than break with her husband — who publicly mocked Kavanaugh’s accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, in front of a cheering crowd — Melania toed the party line and said she supports women and then added a big old “BUT…”
“I support the women – they need to be heard. We need to support them. And also men, not just women,” she said.
“You have to have really hard evidence, you know … if you’re accused of something, show the evidence … I do stand with women, but you need to show the evidence. You cannot just say to somebody … ‘I was sexually assaulted’ or ‘You did that to me,’ because sometimes the media goes too far and the way they portray some stories, it’s not correct. It’s not right.”
— Good Morning America (@GMA) October 10, 2018
The same day that segment aired, the president made some more, even stranger, Me Too comments. He disparaged “the rules” of the movement and gave an example that didn’t actually make sense. At a rally in Pennsylvania, Trump was trying to make the point that Republicans often think they’re going to win the state, but never do (except for him). He then went off on a weird Me Too tangent.
“I’d use an expression — you know there’s an expression — but under the rules of Me Too, I’m not allowed to use the expression anymore,” he said. “I can’t do it. It’s, ‘the person that got away.’ See, the older one was a little different.”
Someone in the crowd then yelled, “Do it anyway” and Trump responded that he would, but “those people up there” (meaning the media) would say, “Did you hear what President Trump said?”
“So there was an expression, but we’ll change the expression,” he finished. “Pennsylvania was always been the person that got away.”
President Trump mocks #MeToo movement during rally in Pennsylvania, while speaking on his 2016 presidential campaign: “Under the rules of #MeToo, I’m not allowed to use that expression.” pic.twitter.com/U6O2KLjmr1
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) October 11, 2018
It would appear that Trump was referring to the common non-gendered expression, “The one that got away” and it’s unclear why he thinks the Me Too movement makes that phrase inappropriate. Critics pointed out that the move was likely just an excuse to call out the movement and political correctness in general. Others just assumed he didn’t know the expression he was referring to.
Speaking of backlash to the Trumps, Melania also addressed the online negativity in her ABC interview. Her “Be Best” campaign focuses on eradicating cyberbullying (yes, she’s mostly ignoring the irony of that) and she talked about her own experiences facing the online trolls.
“I could say, I’m the most bullied person on the world,” she said when asked what encouraged her to choose combating cyberbullying as her FLOTUS platform. “One of them. If you really see what people saying about me.”
Melania Trump: “I’m the most bullied person in the world.” pic.twitter.com/1oXrpXhozK
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) October 11, 2018
Melania is right about there being a lot of negative commentary about her online and, yes, some of it can be classified as “bullying,” but there are also a lot of legitimate criticisms of the First Lady too. Like her frequent controversial (and often down right insulting) wardrobe choices.
People taking issue with offensive actions is not the same as bullying.