The office of first lady Melania Trump on Tuesday scolded "opposition media" for pointing out that Trump reused an educational booklet from the Obama-era Federal Trade Commission in unveiling her new "Be Best" campaign on childhood wellness.
After Trump launched the childhood "well-being, social media use and opioid abuse" initiative on Monday, numerous outlets, including POLITICO, reported that one of the documents distributed by the White House were a nearly identical match to a report released by the FTC under former President Barack Obama.
BuzzFeed offered up the headline "Melania Trump Reused An Obama-Era Pamphlet For Her New Anti-Cyberbullying Campaign" while other outlets delivered more cutting headlines, such as "Melania Trump Ripped Off an Old FTC Document for ‘Be Best.’"
There were also numerous parallels drawn between the recycled document and the incident at the Republican National Convention, where it appeared that Melania Trump reused many of the same lines from Michelle Obama’s Democratic National Convention speech in 2008.
Stephanie Grisham, the communications director for the first lady, on Tuesday ripped into the "opposition media" for their "focus" on the booklet over the substance of Trump’s campaign.
"Mrs. Trump agreed to add Be Best branding and distribute the booklet in an effort to use her platform to amplify the positive message within," Grisham said in a statement. "As she said in yesterday’s speech, she is going to use Be Best to promote people and organizations to encourage conversation and replication, and helping the FTC distribute this booklet is just one small example."
She added: "Despite providing countless outlets with ample background, information, and on-the-record comments from the FTC, some media have chosen to take a day meant to promote kindness and positive efforts on behalf of children, to instead lob baseless accusations towards the First Lady and her new initiatives."
In a statement provided from Trump’s office, FTC consumer and business education division associate director Nathaniel Wood said the agency was "excited that Mrs. Trump distributed this important information about staying safe online."
The document, an instructional material for parents on “Talking with Kids about Being Online," was billed by the "Be Best" campaign website as a “booklet by First Lady Melania Trump and the Federal Trade Commission.”
But aside from a foreword message from the first lady and some branding changes, the document appeared to match nearly word for word an FTC booklet on “Chatting with Kids About Being Online” released by the FTC in 2014. The original pamphlet was published as part of the agency’s “Net Cetera” campaign, which began in 2009 under Obama.
"Our office will continue to focus on helping children and I encourage members of the media to attempt to Be Best in their own professions, and focus on some of the children and programs Mrs. Trump highlighted in her remarks yesterday," Grisham said.
The first lady appeared to ramp up her public profile with the rollout on Monday, announcing the new campaign during her first major White House address at the Rose Garden.
At the event, Trump detailed her focus as first lady – a campaign aimed at boosting the social and physical well-being of children and reducing “destructive and addictive behavior” on social media and beyond.
"There are too many critical issues facing children today,” the first lady said in her remarks as President Donald Trump and other administration officials looked on. “So the three main pillars of ‘Be Best’ will be include well-being, social media use and opioid abuse.”