The first lady, 49, was met with both cheering and a “resounding chorus of loud boos” from middle and high schoolers as soon as she walked on stage at the B’More Youth Summit on Opioid Awareness on Tuesday morning, according to video and the White House pool traveling with her.
There were approximately 1,250 students and others in attendance, according to reporters in the room.
Mrs. Trump appeared unfazed by the reaction, smiling and waving as she walked on stage before making her remarks. She talked about her “Be Best” child welfare initiative, which partly focuses on combatting opioid abuse.
The audience continued to chatter over her speech, which she seemingly ignored and continued on, encouraging kids to reach out for help if they believed they were struggling with addiction.
“We are here today to raise awareness of the opioid epidemic in our country and to educate young lives on how to live a drug-free life,” she said. “Addiction and drug abuse are universal issues — they do not discriminate based on income, age, race or where you live.”
“Since its launch, I have used ‘Be Best’ to shine a light on programs like these that show what it means to ‘Be Best,’ ” Mrs. Trump said. “Whether it is showing a simple act of kindness, providing care where there is need or teaching something valuable, this initiative promotes the positive actions happening in our communities and around the globe.”
“I know each one of you has hopes and dreams for the future, whether it is college, joining the military, or playing a sport,” she continued. “Your future will be determined by the choices you make. Using drugs will only slow you down and prevent you from achieving those goals. I encourage you to use the resources available in your community so that nothing can stand in your way.”
Mrs. Trump was booed again at the end of her five-minute speech. She had been introduced by Jim Wahlberg, Mark Wahlberg’s brother. The Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation co-hosted the summit.
The first lady has regularly traveled the country promoting “Be Best” but doesn’t usually face the same angry reaction as her husband, especially when she attends events solo to discuss opioid addiction.
President Trump previously called Baltimore “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” while attacking the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, who represented parts of the Baltimore area. Cummings was a prominent Trump critic until his death last month.
Mrs. Trump was protested in Boston earlier this month to visit a hospital treating babies recovering from drug exposure in the womb. At least one detractor there wore a jacket calling out her notorious “I Really Don’t Care, Do U?” jacket.