Melania Trump on Tuesday defended the rights of teenagers who booed her when she addressed them in Baltimore, a city her husband, President Donald Trump, has disparaged as “rat and rodent infested.” She traveled there to urge hundreds of middle and high school students to avoid misusing drugs, saying that would make it harder for them to achieve their life’s goals. But her remarks drew a mix of boos and cheers, and the audience remained noisy throughout her five-minute address, the AP reports. It is highly unusual for a first lady to be booed at a public appearance. Mrs. Trump released a statement hours after she had returned to the White House, defending the principle of freedom of expression while reaffirming her commitment to the issue that drew her to Baltimore.
“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,” Mrs. Trump said. The first lady has been using her prominence to spotlight programs she thinks can help young people, whether it’s to teach them to be positive online or to avoid drug misuse and addiction. She went to Maryland to address the Baltimore Youth Summit on Opioid Awareness, appearing on behalf of her “Be Best” youth campaign, which includes a focus on the US epidemic of opioid misuse. President Trump, who has had a difficult relationship with Baltimore, was met with protests in September, including by a giant inflatable rat, when he went to the city to address a meeting of House Republicans
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