Melania Trump covered everything from the #MeToo movement to her husband’s alleged infidelities to her frustrations over being “the most bullied person in the world” in her first sit-down as first lady on Friday night.
Here’s what Mrs. Trump, 48, had to say in the wide-ranging interview with ABC News, titled “Being Melania: The First Lady,” which was filmed during her recent trip to Africa.
“I’m a mother and a first lady, and I have much more important things to think about and to do,” she told ABC News’ chief national affairs correspondent Tom Llamas. “I know people like to speculate and media like to speculate about our marriage.”
Asked if she’s been hurt by the allegations, which her husband has denied, Mrs. Trump admitted, “it’s not always pleasant, of course” — but maintained her confidence. “I know what is right and what is wrong and what is true and what is not true,” she said.
She also confirmed to Llamas that she loves her husband. “Yes, we are fine. Yes. It’s what media speculate, and it’s gossip. It’s not always correct stuff.”
Mrs. Trump said she stands by women who have come forward with claims of sexual assault and harassment as part of the #MeToo movement — but then seemingly echoed her husband’s controversial empathy for the accused.
The first lady — whose husband faced allegations of sexual misconduct by multiple women over the course of the 2016 presidential campaign, which he has denied — said, “I support the women and they need to be heard. We need to support them and also men, not just women.”
Asked if men who have been publicly accused of sexual misconduct have been treated unfairly, the former fashion model stated, “We need to have really hard evidence that you know, that if you are accused of something, show the evidence.”
Mrs. Trump controversially referred to herself as “the most bullied person in the world.”
While discussing her “Be Best” policy platform targeting online bullies, Mrs. Trump said, “I could say that I’m the most bullied person in the world.”
She then conceded, “One of them — if you really see what people are saying about me.”
“That’s why ‘Be Best’ is focusing on online behavior and social media,” Mrs. Trump continued. “We need to educate the children [about] social, emotional behavior.”
Mrs. Trump first pledged to combat the rise of cyberbullying a few days before her husband Donald Trump won the election in November 2016.
Critics have called the first lady hypocritical for adopting the cause, given the president’s well-documented habit of lashing out at his foes on Twitter, often using degrading and even sometimes racist nicknames.
“I am well aware that people are skeptical of me discussing the topic,” she said back in March. “I have been criticized for my commitment to tackling this issue and I know that will continue, but it will not stop me from doing what I know is right. I am here with one goal: helping children and our next generation.”
The first lady said there are people in her husband’s administration whom she doesn’t trust.
She didn’t mention any names but said that she told her husband about them.
“Well,” she said, “some people, they don’t work there anymore.”
But she added that some people she doesn’t trust are still working under her husband.
Asked about rumors that she has “100 percent” control over President Trump, she said: “I wish! I give him my honest advice and honest opinions and then he does what he wants to do.”
Llamas added that a White House source told ABC that Mrs. Trump is the “gatekeeper” to who the president trusts, the first lady said: “Yes. I give him my honest advice.”
“Yes, we are fine,” she said. “Yes. It’s what media speculate, and it’s gossip. It’s not always correct stuff.”
On how she would describe herself
Asked what word she would use to describe herself, Mrs. Trump said that she is a mother, a daughter, a wife, a friend, and the first lady of the United States. She also said that she considers herself “caring, compassionate, strong, independent, very detail-oriented, staying true to herself.”