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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 October 2018

Melania Trump: I'm the world's most bullied person

US first lady reveals motivation behind her Be Best initiative against cyber bullyng

US First Lady Melania Trump boards her plane after a visit to Egypt on October 6, 2018. AFP
US First Lady Melania Trump boards her plane after a visit to Egypt on October 6, 2018. AFP

Melania Trump believes she may be the "the most bullied person" in the world, based on what people say about her.

The US first lady was responding to a question about why she chose cyber bullying as a pet cause, in an interview with ABC News during her trip this month to Africa.

"I could say I'm the most bullied person on the world," she said.

When pressed, she said she could certainly be "one of them, if you really see what people saying about me".

That, she said, is "why my 'Be Best' initiative is focusing on social media and online behaviour".

Critics have pointed out that her husband, President Donald Trump, routinely mocks people for their looks and for what he says is a lack of talent or intelligence.

ABC released clips of the interview on Thursday ahead of a longer piece to be broadcast on Friday.

The 48-year-old former model may be smarting from online and press mockery for her attire during last week's trip to Ghana, Malawi, Kenya and Egypt.

Mrs Trump's use of a white pith helmet while on safari in Kenya drew comparisons to a 19th-century colonial administrator.

At her final stop in Egypt she wore white pants, a pleated white shirt and a black tie with a beige jacket - prompting comparisons to Michael Jackson, the fictional character Carmen Sandiego, and the French archaeologist villain in the first Indiana Jones movie.

In rare comments to the press before leaving, Mrs Trump said she wanted "to talk about my trip and not what I wear".

But it is impossible not to talk about Melania Trump without noticing her attire.

In June she raised eyebrows when she visited an immigrant children's shelter in Texas wearing a trench coat with the words "I really don't care, do u?" emblazoned on the back.

In August 2017 she departed the White House to visit Hurricane Harvey flood victims sporting stiletto heels - but appeared later in Texas wearing white sneakers.

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Read more:

Melania Trump's Africa wardrobe evoked a brutal history of colonialism

Flotus in Africa: the worst travel wardrobe of all time?

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Despite the catty online comments, Mrs Trump said that her time in the White House has been positive.

"I am enjoying it. I really love to live in the Washington and the White House," she told ABC.

She said that she would support her husband if he wanted to run for a second term.

The first lady also said there were people in the White House whom she and the president could not trust, and that she let her husband know about them.

"Well," she said, "some people, they don't work there anymore."

The Trump administration has dealt with an anonymous senior official's newspaper op-ed column critical of the Republican president and with numerous staff departures. This week, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley announced she was leaving at the end of the year.

The president, in an interview on Thursday with Fox & Friends, was asked about why people he and his wife do not trust are still in his administration.

"I didn't know people in Washington, and now I know everybody," Mr Trump said. "I know some that I wish I didn't know."

He said he has "great people right now working."

"Are there some that I'm not in love with? Yes," he said. "And we'll weed them out slowly but surely."