Shortly after First Lady Melania Trump unveiled her "Be Best" agenda to keep children safe online and combat cyberbullying on Monday, it was revealed that the initiative's website was nearly identical to one put up in 2014 by the Obama administration.
Fun fact: The White House trumpets “Talking with Kids about Being Online" as "a booklet by First Lady Melania Trump and the Federal Trade Commission." Except for an intro, it's exactly the same thing Obama's FTC put out. pic.twitter.com/AEf6F0gBbt
— The Rude Pundit (@rudepundit) May 7, 2018
The original pamphlet was published by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with the title "Net Cetera—Chatting with Kids About Being Online." Both the first lady and the FTC advised families on talking to children about news stories regarding cyberbullying, "sexting," and monitoring internet searches completed by kids.
Side-by-side images posted on Twitter showed that the online pamphlets were nearly identical except for an introduction signed by Melania Trump and some minor word changes in headings.
It's not the first time the first lady has been subject to accusations of plagiarism from the Obama administration—which President Donald Trump criticized throughout his predecessor's presidency and has continued to blame for many of the country's problems. During the 2016 campaign, Melania Trump gave a speech at the Republican National Convention which lifted language and sentiments from First Lady Michelle Obama's 2008 speech.
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"This latest instance isn't exactly plagiarism, but it is incredibly funny that her team just slapped the already-hilarious Be Best logo on an old FTC document and used that to launch a very incoherent, seemingly dashed-off policy that tries to encompass both the very complicated and challenging issue of opioid abuse, and "don't post too much,'" wrote Libby Watson of Splinter News.
Splinter was among many outlets that noted that the first lady's use of the Obama administration's document wasn't the "Be Best" campaign's only irony—considering that Melania Trump is dedicating her time as First Lady to battling cyberbullying while her husband has publicly attacked members of his own administration, the news media, and members of Congress via his Twitter account—sometimes with degrading comments about people's physical appearance:
As one million pundits pointed out yesterday, it's hilariously craven for Trump to champion this program while married to a cyber-bully-in-chief, even without a logo that appears to have been designed by a child whose brain has not yet bloomed from the wonder of social media use. I hope this never ends, and certainly not before we are all Be Best.
The first lady's office responded to criticism of her initiative by changing the Be Best's website to read "a Federal Trade Commission booklet, promoted by First Lady Melania Trump."