First lady Melania Trump took her “Be Best” initiative to the Baltimore area on Tuesday, where she was met with a chorus of boos from attendees at a youth summit aimed at raising awareness about the nation’s opioid crisis.
The heckling lasted for about one minute, according to CNN’s Kate Bennett, who was in the room. But the audience remained raucous, audibly speaking over her remarks throughout her brief speech to the B’More Youth Summit.
Undeterred, the first lady pressed on.
“Thank you to all of the students who are here. I am so proud of you for the bravery it takes to share that you have been strongly affected by the opioid epidemic in some way,” she said above loud, persistent talking in the audience in an auditorium at University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
The first lady later responded to the booing in a statement to CNN: “We live in a democracy and everyone is entitled to their opinion, but the fact is we have a serious crisis in our country and I remain committed to educating children on the dangers and deadly consequences of drug abuse.”
Earlier in November, the first lady was met with protesters during a visit to Boston Medical Center, located in the city’s South End. Protesters on a grassy area in front of the building held signs and chanted, most decrying the immigration stance and policies of her husband, President Donald Trump.
Those in the crowd were primarily hospital employees, upset that Melania Trump’s visit would create a public photo opportunity aligning members of the Trump administration with Boston Medical Center, 30% of whose patients don’t speak English as a primary language, according to the hospital’s website.
In Baltimore on Tuesday, the first lady touted her work with “Be Best,” which focuses on children’s well-being, online safety and opioid abuse.
“Promoting education and awareness on these issues will always be one of my top priorities. I am in this fight with you and I am fighting for you. I encourage you, if you are struggling with addiction right now, reach out for support – whether it’s a teacher, parent, friend, grandparent, coach or pastor, talk to an adult in your life that you trust. It is never too late to ask for help,” she told the crowd.
She was again loudly booed, and also cheered, as she departed the stage at the conclusion of her speech.
This is the first time the first lady has been publicly booed at a solo event, though the Trump administration has had strained relations with the city of Baltimore.
The President called Baltimore a “rat and rodent infested mess” in a July tweet, specifically referring to the late Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings’ district, which includes parts of Baltimore, as a place where “no human being would want to live.”