First lady Melania Trump met with superstar singer-songwriter Billy Ray Cyrus on Monday as part of her “Be Best” public awareness campaign to improve the mental and physical well-being of kids across the country.
Part of the campaign centers on fighting cyberbullying, and that in fact happened to be the key subject matter of discussion during Tuesday’s memorable meeting.
But it wasn’t just Cyrus and Trump who were at the meeting — also in attendance was the family of Channing Smith, a 16-year-old Tennessee teenager who killed himself two months ago after his classmates circulated explicit messages he’d exchanged with another boy.
A Coffee County high-schooler took his own life and the family says it’s a result of cyberbullying. They say he was outed on social media by two other teens the same evening he shot himself. I’ll have the details tonight on @FOXNashville at 9:00 pm. pic.twitter.com/rYeWufl0oG
— AJ Abell (Fox17) (@aj_abell) September 26, 2019
— Billy Ray Cyrus (@billyraycyrus) September 29, 2019
— Billy Ray Cyrus (@billyraycyrus) September 28, 2019
— Billy Ray Cyrus (@billyraycyrus) October 17, 2019
“They did it to just completely humiliate and embarrass my brother,” the deceased teen’s brother, Joshua, said at the time to local station WZTV.
“Being in a small, rural town in the middle of Tennessee, you can imagine being the laughing stock and having to go to school Monday morning. He couldn’t face the humiliation that was waiting on him when he got to school on Monday, so he shot and killed himself.”
Cyrus has been raising awareness about cyberbullying ever since Smith’s tragic suicide, and given as the first lady has been pursuing a similar campaign, he felt that bringing her in on his efforts would be a worthwhile pursuit. It appears he was right.
“Yesterday, @billyraycyrus introduced me to the Smith family to hear about the tragic loss of their loved one from cyberbullying. Teaching positive online behaviors can ensure a safer future for our children,” the first lady tweeted after meeting with the family:
Highlighting online safety is one of my #BeBest priorities. Yesterday, @billyraycyrus introduced me to the Smith family to hear about the tragic loss of their loved one from cyberbullying. Teaching positive online behaviors can ensure a safer future for our children. pic.twitter.com/3p4HfdRtTX
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) November 19, 2019
In his own post-meeting tweet, the singer-songwriter thanked the first lady for her “sincerity” and praised the “ideas” and “strategy” she’s pursuing to make the world a better place.
“What an honor to sit w/The First Lady at the White House,” he wrote. “@FLOTUS Your sincerity was truly inspiring. You/your team were so engaged to Channing’s grieving father & brother & brought ideas/strategy to make the world a safer better place for the youth in America #JusticeForChanning.”
What an honor to sit w/The First Lady at the White House. @FLOTUS Your sincerity was truly inspiring. You/your team were so engaged to Channing’s grieving father & brother & brought ideas/strategy to make the world a safer better place for the youth in America #JusticeForChanning pic.twitter.com/U7Pt6qTXzD
— Billy Ray Cyrus (@billyraycyrus) November 19, 2019
How did the forever-angry left respond? By trashing Cyrus for committing the apparently unforgivable sin of involving the first lady of the United States in his efforts to make the world a more just, loving, and fair place.
“I used to like you. No more,” one far-left zealot bluntly wrote.
“Oh my God, another one who drank the koolaid. To think I used to think you had integrity,” another added.
It seems that to these people, hating President Donald Trump and everything and everybody linked to him is more important than helping a suffering family and combating cyberbullying.
See some of the more despicable responses below:
I used to like you. No more.
— Denise Resister in Virginia ? (@denksmith) November 19, 2019
Oh my God, another one who drank the koolaid. To think I used to think you had integrity. ?
— Mary Treacy (@marymtte) November 19, 2019
And another person not buying music from.
— vradrian (@vradrian99) November 20, 2019
I have nothing good to say…… so I will just stand over here in the corner and roll my ?
— correna (@correnacorrena1) November 20, 2019
@billyraycyrus is washed up and looking for relevance.
— Rachel Cowap (@trixieEaton) November 20, 2019
I’m not surprised, billy ray never seemed like a very educated person. He’s never been the brightest bulb, as most of the trump supporters. You guys can have him, lol. ?
— christina morris (@maple_1976) November 20, 2019
The first lady faced a barrage of similar insults, with the core complaint being that she has no room to talk about cyberbullying given as she’s married to a man who allegedly cyberbullies others.
There’s a stark difference between young children cyberbullying each other, and grown adults — grown adults involved in politics, to be more precise — hurling accusations and sometimes even insults at one another.
In fact, if the president is guilty of cyberbullying as per the tough tweets he posts about his political opponents, so then too is almost every Democrat member of Congress.
But when it comes to actual cyberbullying — particularly cyberbullying involving children — the only guilty parties appear to be Democrats, again:
‘You’re right to be afraid’: Power-crazed NY Dem ‘threatens’ conservative teen CJ Pearson for light-hearted dig https://t.co/yolpAZ3Ut9
— Herbert Reed (@Herbert_L_Reed) February 8, 2019
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