US First Lady Melania Trump received a poor reception when she appeared in Baltimore to speak about opioid addiction.
The event was sponsored by the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation and the Drug Enforcement Administration.
- Melania Trump booed at youth opioid summit
- US First Lady Melania Trump booed on stage in Balitmore
Melania Trump Is Booed While Addressing Students in Baltimore
The first lady, who was speaking at an event for youth opioids awareness, rarely elicits such a visceral crowd reaction on her own.
“I’m in this fight for you, and I’m fighting for you,” Melania Trump said.
Melania Trump was booed by a roomful of students in Baltimore on Tuesday when she took the stage to give a speech about youth opioid use, one of the pillars of her “Be Best” initiative.
A vocal crowd of middle school and high school students erupted in a mix of loud boos and some cheers as the first lady strode across the stage at the B’More Youth Summit on Opioid Awareness.
Mrs. Trump smiled through the unpleasant welcome, even as members of the crowd talked over her speech. “I’m in this fight for you, and I’m fighting for you,” Mrs. Trump said. “If you are struggling with addiction right now, reach out for support.” She encouraged the students to “talk to an adult in your life that you trust. It is never too late to ask for help.”
Mrs. Trump’s visit to Baltimore came just four months after President Trump dismissed the city as a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” where “no human being would want to live.” He had maligned the city in a Twitter diatribe aimed at former Representative Elijah E. Cummings, a Democrat from Maryland who was a leading critic of the president. (Mr. Cummings died in October.)
Mr. Trump has visited Baltimore once since then, when he went to town to address a Republican retreat at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel. But Mrs. Trump’s visit to the city did not have the benefit of an audience full of political allies.
“Good for her for going there, it’s a city that needs help and support,” said Anita McBride, who served as chief of staff to the first lady Laura Bush. “When you’re a public figure, there’s always a risk of this happening. But your visibility is needed on the issue. At the end of the day, that’s the most important thing.”
Mrs. Trump has faced loud, negative crowd reactions attending events with her husband — the Trumps were loudly booed last month at the World Series in Washington, for example — but Mrs. Trump rarely elicits such a visceral crowd reaction on her own. She has participated in a number of events related to opioid abuse among young people, including visiting centers for at-risk youth, but many of those events were in front of smaller, more welcoming audiences.
But she is not the first member of the Trump family to find herself trapped in front of an unfriendly audience.
Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and a senior White House adviser, was booed and hissed at a 2017 appearance at the W20 Summit in Berlin, where she spoke on a panel with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and Christine Lagarde, who was then the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, among others. The majority-female audience verbally recoiled when Ms. Trump called her father a “tremendous champion of supporting families and enabling them to thrive.”
Melania Trump, in a statement, said she would not be deterred from her work on youth opioid use. “We live in a democracy and everyone is entitled to their opinion,” she said, “but the fact is we have a serious crisis in our country and I remain committed to educating children on the dangers and deadly consequences of drug abuse.”