Melania Trump steps into the limelight with ‘Be best’ campaign for children

Melania Trump is putting child welfare, good behaviour on social media and tackling opioid abuse at the centre of her formal agenda as she signalled her intention to take up a more prominent profile as first lady.

Almost 16 months into her tenure, Mrs Trump announced her initiative, the "Be Best Campaign", in a public launch at the White House on Monday.

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“I believe our responsibility lies in the critical time before a child reaches adulthood,” she said as she described her three-pronged programme.

It was a marked departure for the First Lady, who has been eager to remain out of the spotlight while Donald Trump faced a string of allegations of extramarital affairs from women in recent months.

Mrs Trump called her husband to the stage at the end of her speech to sign a proclamation announcing May 7 as “Be Best Day", giving her new campaign official backing.

President Trump signs the proclamation Credit:

Spectators were quick to critique the campaign slogan’s grammar, with Mr Trump reportedly laughing after one audience member asked him if it was grammatically correct.

Social media users were also quick to criticise the new campaign, with one Twitter user saying: "Is proper grammar from the first lady too much to ask?"

Others pointed out that the slogan was similar to a phrase Mrs Trump’s predecessor, Michelle Obama, has previously used. 

Asked what men could do during an event about women’s empowerment in 2016, Mrs Obama told the audience: "be better…be better at everything".  

The joint appearance by the Trumps followed a major report from the Washington Post suggesting the pair lead separate lives and spend very little time together in private.

The couple are reported to sleep in separate rooms and even eat their meals apart, White House staff told the newspaper. 

It also reported that Mrs Trump has "erected a de facto wall" between the East Wing, where the residency is located, and the West Wing, where her husband and Ivanka Trump, her eldest stepdaughter, have offices.

The White House dismissed the claims as tabloid speculation, with press secretary Sarah Sanders denouncing it as "outrageous and ridiculous".

Sitting in the front row, feet from his wife at the podium, the President listened as the first lady cautioned against the "destructive behaviour" such as "bullying".

The couple put on an unusual display of intimacy during the eventCredit:

Representatives from Microsoft, Google, Twitter as well as members of Mr Trump’s cabinet were present for the first lady’s announcement. 

Turning to his wife, Mr Trump said “Melania, you are an inspiration”. The pair returned to the White House holding hands – an unusual display of intimacy between the couple. 

Mrs Trump has declined to comment on the allegations surrounding her marriage, but has begun increasing her profile in recent weeks. 

The role of First Lady, which is an unpaid position, has varied between administrations but Mrs Trump has been perceived to take a relatively back-seat approach in comparison with her predecessor Mrs Obama. 

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Her decision not to move into the White House full-time until six months after her husband was elected was met with raised eyebrows and she taken a longer time then her predecessors to announce an initiative. 

While Mrs Trump has highlighted issues facing children since last September, this is the first time she has formally outlined how she will carry that forward.

Mrs Trump announced her campaign from the White House’s Rose Garden, her first speech from the location, saying it was "our generation’s moral imperative to take responsibility and help our children".

"As a mother and as first lady, it concerns me that in today’s fast-paced and ever-connected world, children can be less prepared to express or manage their emotions and oftentimes turn to forms of destructive or addictive behavior such as bullying, drug addiction or even suicide," she said.

Mrs Trump launched her initiative on MondayCredit:

Mrs Trump’s focus on cyberbullying has led to questions over whether her husband’s prolific tweets could fall under that term. 

Mrs Sanders rebuked the suggestion during her press briefing on Monday, saying "I think the idea that you’re trying to blame cyber bullying on the president is kind of ridiculous.  

"When it comes to kids this is something that has been problematic and something that we have seen over the last decade". 

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