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Melania Trump warns social media is 'harmful when used incorrectly' moments before Donald launches Twitter attack on ‘worst CIA director’

First lady seeks to teach kids how to 'conduct themselves in a positive manner in an online setting'

Emily Shugerman
New York
Monday 20 August 2018 15:30 BST
Melania Trump: Social media can be 'destructive and harmful when used incorrectly'

Donald Trump has attacked a former CIA director on Twitter, moments after his wife gave a speech on the dangers of cyberbullying.

Mr Trump called intelligence analyst John Brennan the "worst CIA Director in our country’s history" in a tweet sent Monday morning. Just an hour before, Melania Trump warned that social media could be "destructive and harmful when used incorrectly" during a speech at a cyberbullying prevention summit.

The first lady said her "Be Best" campaign would focus on teaching children how to "conduct themselves safely and in a positive manner in an online setting".

"Let’s face it," Ms Trump added, "most children are more aware of the benefits and pitfalls of social media than some adults."

Ms Trump was widely criticised over the launch of her "Be Best" campaign this spring, with many pointing out the contrast between the first lady's anti-cyberbullying campaign and her husband's occasionally vitriolic tweets.

Responding to similar critiques on Monday, a spokeswoman for Ms Trump said the first lady was aware of the criticism, but that it "will not deter her from doing what she feels is right".

"The President is proud of her commitment to children and encourages her in all that she does," spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham added.

Mr Trump has repeatedly referred to other public figures as "dumb," "dopey," "weak," or simply, "sad!" He recently referred to an African American former White House aide as "that dog," spurring cries of racism.

On Monday, he tweeted angrily about Mr Brennan and another frequent subject of his ire: Special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election meddling.

"I hope John Brennan, the worst CIA Director in our country’s history, brings a lawsuit," Mr Trump tweeted. "It will then be very easy to get all of his records, texts, emails and documents to show not only the poor job he did, but how he was involved with the Mueller Rigged Witch Hunt. He won’t sue!"

Trump aides discussing Trump using the racial slur

Minutes later, Mr Trump tweeted that Justice Department prosecutor Bruce Ohr was a "total joke," and called for him to be fired. He recently revoked Mr Brennan's security clearance, and has threatened to do the same to Mr Ohr. Both men have been outspoken critics of the president.

Monday was not the first time Mr Trump and first lady offered contrasting messages on social media. Earlier this month, after the president attacked LeBron James on Twitter, Ms Trump issued a statement praising the basketball star and offering to visit the nonprofit school he founded.

"It looks like LeBron James is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation and just as she always has, the First Lady encourages everyone to have an open dialogue about issues facing children today," the statement said.

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