The surreal FLOTUS initiative known as “Be Best” is back in the spotlight this week. Melania Trump is taking her public awareness campaign to Washington, Nevada, and Oklahoma, making stops at an elementary school, a tech company, and a town hall. She tweeted that she “will continue to help promote successful programs that provide children the tools and skills required for emotional, social and physical well-being.”
That all sounds great, but only on paper. The reality of Be Best paints a curious picture, starting with the name. “Be Best” is way weird. The missing article makes the phrase awkward, a sign of amateur hour in the East Wing. Many have wondered if the name is also a petty attempt to outdo Melania’s predecessor. In a conversation with Oprah Winfrey at the 2016 United State of Women Summit in Washington DC, Michelle Obama encouraged men to “be better.” The former First Lady’s grammatically correct phrase was met with thunderous applause.
Then there is the substance of Be Best, which is one gigantic elephant in the room. The initiative’s mission is to “focus on major issues facing children today,” such as “avoiding negative social media interaction.” But no matter how sincere Melania might be in her efforts, she has a credibility problem the size of Trump’s failed imaginary wall. She remains married to a proud orphan-maker who enjoys spending “executive time” tweeting insults to anyone who dares to challenge him.
Finally, there is the issue of Be Best’s bizarre promotion. Melania’s first public action since launching her campaign about children’s well-being was a trip to a children’s shelter in McAllen, Texas. The point was to show support for migrant children who were separated from their families thanks to the Trump administration’s policy. But Melania made the biggest headline with her “I really don’t care. Do U?” jacket, which literally speaks for itself. A few months later, she brought her Be Best initiative to Africa. Melania wore a pith helmet, which has come to symbolize colonialism and white privilege. Such shenanigans have no place in any serious public awareness campaign.
This week, Melania is taking Be Best on the road at a time when it is guaranteed to get little coverage. Mounting evidence of Donald Trump’s crimes and scandals have overtaken the news cycle. If Trump’s presidency is imploding, then Melania’s days as our nation’s First Lady may very well be numbered. Be Best may best be ending.