Melania Trump was widely criticized for both the content and the name of her “Be Best” anti-bullying campaign, but it apparently could have been avoided if the first lady had heeded the advice of a friend and close adviser.
A recent report from Vanity Fair covered the growing controversy surrounding Donald Trump’s $107 million inauguration and the seemingly missing money. But in doing so, the report also revealed some behind-the-scenes details about how Melania Trump’s bullying campaign came together and some advice she didn’t follow about its name.
The report was based on hours of recorded conversations between former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and Winston Wolkoff, who served as the strategist, adviser, and enforcer for Melania Trump. The report noted that Wolkoff was never afraid to give it straight to Melania, including her thoughts on the poor name for the first lady’s signature initiative in the White House.
“According to sources familiar with the conversations, Wolkoff told Melania and East Wing staffers that the name for her anti-bullying initiative, ‘Be Best,’ sounded illiterate. (The First Lady, according to these sources, feared that an alternative, ‘Children First,’ was too similar to her husband’s ‘America First’ branding.)”
Melania Trump was widely criticized for the anti-cyberbullying campaign, with many noting that her husband is notorious for using Twitter to launch personal attacks against perceived opponents, with Melania doing nothing to stop it. Others noted that the seemingly grammatically incorrect “Be Best” moniker was just a poor attempt to one-up former First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Be Better” advice she gave during an interview with Oprah Winfrey at the White House Summit on the United State of Women in 2016.
As Time magazine noted, many people noticed quickly that large sections of the “Be Best” campaign were copied almost word-for-word from a pamphlet that the Federal Trade Commission released in 2014 under Barack Obama.
lmao... the White House/Melania Trump Be Best pamphlet about your kids being online is almost the exact same thing that the FTC published in Jan. 2014:— Ryan Mac (@RMac18) May 7, 2018
2018: https://t.co/dNas3LM8UP pic.twitter.com/WJTobZAPC1
This wasn’t the only time that Melania Trump ignored the advice of her adviser. The report noted that Wolkoff also warned the first lady not to wear the now-infamous “I Really Don’t Care, Do U?” jacket on a trip to visit child immigrants who were separated from their parents under her husband’s zero tolerance policy and placed in detention centers. The Vanity Fair report noted that Melania thought the jacket would help get more attention for the trip, though she would later say that it was a message to the media that were critical of her.