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Melania Trump's spokeswoman speaks out

In yet another unnecessary attack on the first lady, CNN contributor Kate Anderson Brower, who purports to b...

Posted: Dec 17, 2018 3:46 PM
Updated: Dec 17, 2018 3:46 PM

In yet another unnecessary attack on the first lady, CNN contributor Kate Anderson Brower, who purports to be an expert on the customs and norms of first ladies and yet has never met Melania Trump, wrote Thursday that Mrs. Trump "proved that she doesn't understand what it means to be first lady."

This condescending opinion, apparently written in response to a single answer Mrs. Trump gave in a Fox News interview Wednesday, was published just hours after the first lady traveled to Children's National hospital in Washington to read a Christmas story, visit sick children and thank the hardworking hospital staff.

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CNN has a dedicated reporter who covers Mrs. Trump. But the media consistently ignores the first lady's work on behalf of the people of this country, and children in particular, in favor of more trivial matters. And my defense, here, of the first lady will certainly draw criticism and be framed as another assault on the press, but this predictable reaction won't make my observations any less true.

This holiday season, Mrs. Trump has made every effort to spread joy and good cheer to citizens across the country. In the past week alone, Mrs. Trump participated in a Toys for Tots toy drive, visited service members and families from three different branches of the military, and flew out to an aircraft carrier for one of the visits, in addition to her time with patients at Children's National hospital.

But rather than focus on these engagements, the good work of the organizations her visits highlighted or the sacrifices of those who serve in the United States military, Brower and other members of the media chose to focus on a soundbite from a 20-minute interview -- and a trivial poll released by CNN.

For Brower to claim that Mrs. Trump's interview was "a lost opportunity to put attention on families of struggling Americans she's met in her role as first lady" is to willfully ignore everything she has actually done to help and support children and families across the globe as a commitment to service she has consistently demonstrated over the past two years.

When Brower claims Mrs. Trump has no understanding of what it means to be first lady, she intentionally ignores all the effort the first lady has put into fulfilling the traditional responsibilities of the role. For example, she has hosted a successful state dinner and dozens of holiday events at the White House. She has led restoration and preservation efforts in the residence. She has welcomed numerous foreign heads of state to the White House. And, most recently, she has represented the country at a state funeral.

In fact, in the past two years, Mrs. Trump has visited several hospitals, both at home and abroad, and visited with children in immigration facilities in Texas and Arizona. In the wake of the hurricanes that devastated Texas, Florida, Louisiana and Puerto Rico, she traveled to the affected areas to support recovery efforts -- and she partnered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to issue a public service announcement.

Mrs. Trump comforted shooting victims in Las Vegas, Parkland and Pittsburgh, and thanked law enforcement personnel and first responders for their heroic efforts during times of national tragedy. She has carried her "Be Best" message -- a message of hope and empowerment -- to children in the United States and around the world. She has emphasized the urgency and severity of our nation's opioid crisis with visits to Lily's Place in West Virginia and multiple newborn intensive care units, where she conducted listening sessions before the cameras to shine a light on successful Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome programs across the country.

As part of the broader effort to reduce addiction, she has spoken to thousands of young people about the dangers of drug abuse. She has met with major technology companies to understand the challenges that each faces in the effort to address unsafe or irresponsible behavior online, and has encouraged children to practice digital civility. Each event in her comprehensive "Be Best" initiative is focused on helping children with the many issues they face today. Yet, somehow, she is still characterized as a "reluctant" first lady.

Of course, absurdity abounds in the media's coverage of our first lady. Reports focus on the trivial and superficial, rather than the deeper issues facing our country that the she has tirelessly worked to address. Last year, when Mrs. Trump traveled to Texas to comfort and support the people affected by hurricanes, the media focused on the pair of heels she wore to board Air Force One.

When she announced "Be Best," her campaign to help children all over the world, the media criticized her for focusing on the importance of safe and responsible behavior online, presumably because they disagree with her husband's use of Twitter. In doing so, the media fumbled a critical opportunity to highlight the many inspiring children, families and programs Mrs. Trump mentioned during her speech. News personalities and outlets use the "Be Best" hashtag to taunt her about her husband, instead of focusing on the underlying message of kindness and compassion the campaign is intended to convey.

The list goes on. When Mrs. Trump invited children from a local Boys and Girls club to help plant vegetables in the White House garden, the media chose to focus on the cost of her shirt and the fact that her shoes were clean. Ironically, this same garden had been the focus of significant media attention when some speculated that it would be destroyed simply because it was an initiative led by the first lady's predecessor, Michelle Obama.

When the first lady traveled to Lynchburg, Virginia, to speak to more than 10,000 college students about the dangers of opioid abuse, the media chose to focus on an off-the-cuff answer that she gave regarding Christmas décor at the White House. The Christmas decorations were mocked last year, and no one is surprised that she is being criticized for them again this year.

When she partnered with the US Agency for International Development and traveled to Africa for a four-country goodwill tour that focused on children's health and education, conservation efforts and social and cultural issues affecting each region, what did the media focus on? Her clothes.

Whenever Mrs. Trump sits down for interviews, she inevitably gets attacked for her honest answers. I could continue with examples, but will inevitably be attacked for having a "woe-is-me attitude" -- it couldn't possibly be that we are defending ourselves. The simple fact is that Mrs. Trump deserves honest reporting and media coverage that focuses on the substance of her message: the importance of helping children grow up to be happy, healthy and socially responsible adults.

The role of first lady brings with it unique opportunities to help people across the country and around the world. This is not lost on Mrs. Trump. She has and will continue to demonstrate her commitment to helping children and advancing the causes she is passionate about. But there is nothing wrong with staying true to herself along the way. In fact, her strength, individuality and integrity should be celebrated.

The media also has the opportunity and responsibility to report fairly, accurately and without bias. They are, in fact, writing the first draft of our nation's history. In many ways, they are failing to measure up to this responsibility. This failure must be addressed.

Ms. Brower's piece criticizing Mrs. Trump has this headline: "Melania shows she's a Trump through and through." At least she got that part right. Hopefully, the media will eventually learn to celebrate a woman who, through all the noise, is able to hold steadfast to her mission and stay true to herself. Regardless, Melania Trump is proud to be the first lady of the United States and is proud to represent the American people.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 314509

Reported Deaths: 7247
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21626259
Hinds20359415
Harrison17934309
Rankin13634278
Jackson13447246
Madison10099217
Lee9980174
Jones8381163
Forrest7683152
Lauderdale7191241
Lowndes6401147
Lamar623086
Lafayette6200118
Washington5339134
Bolivar4802132
Oktibbeha462798
Panola4588107
Pearl River4512146
Marshall4443103
Warren4393121
Pontotoc420772
Monroe4113133
Union411076
Neshoba4031176
Lincoln3968110
Hancock379386
Leflore3497125
Sunflower336090
Tate334084
Pike3325105
Scott315973
Alcorn313368
Yazoo311669
Itawamba300477
Copiah297065
Coahoma295479
Simpson295288
Tippah288768
Adams286882
Prentiss279760
Marion269280
Leake268373
Wayne262641
Grenada261487
Covington259681
George248048
Newton246861
Winston227281
Tishomingo226967
Jasper221148
Attala214473
Chickasaw207857
Holmes189173
Clay185454
Stone182833
Tallahatchie178841
Clarke178080
Calhoun170832
Yalobusha164338
Smith162434
Walthall133945
Greene130633
Lawrence128624
Montgomery126942
Noxubee126734
Perry126338
Amite123142
Carroll121829
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis107133
Tunica105726
Claiborne102430
Benton99525
Humphreys96733
Kemper95828
Franklin83823
Quitman80916
Choctaw76418
Wilkinson67331
Jefferson65728
Sharkey50217
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 532895

Reported Deaths: 11001
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson771431528
Mobile41089808
Madison34837505
Tuscaloosa25810454
Montgomery24355588
Shelby23730249
Baldwin21191309
Lee15892171
Calhoun14522316
Morgan14324279
Etowah13861353
Marshall12250223
Houston10581281
Elmore10060205
Limestone9986151
Cullman9705194
St. Clair9702243
Lauderdale9441242
DeKalb8846187
Talladega8255176
Walker7246277
Autauga6938108
Jackson6815112
Blount6694137
Colbert6310134
Coffee5524119
Dale4850111
Russell443238
Chilton4308112
Franklin426282
Covington4136118
Tallapoosa4039152
Escambia393977
Chambers3578123
Dallas3557152
Clarke351161
Marion3130101
Pike311377
Lawrence300798
Winston275673
Bibb261564
Geneva251477
Marengo249664
Pickens234761
Barbour231756
Hale223277
Butler216469
Fayette212562
Henry189044
Cherokee184745
Randolph181742
Monroe178040
Washington167639
Macon159950
Clay156857
Crenshaw152757
Cleburne149141
Lamar142935
Lowndes139053
Wilcox127130
Bullock122841
Conecuh110629
Coosa107928
Perry107826
Sumter104832
Greene92534
Choctaw61124
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Skies remain clear as we wrap up the work week, which will lead us into an excellent weekend in terms of weather. Low humidity will keep temperatures cool or chilly in the mornings and much warmer each afternoon. Humidity gradually returns later in the weekend and early next week.
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