Melania Trump loudly booed and heckled by children at opioid summit in Baltimore

Clark Mindock
First lady Melania Trump speaking at a youth summit on opioids in Baltimore, where she was booed by sections of the audience: REUTERS

First lady Melania Trump has been met with sustained boos at an event in Baltimore for high school and middle school students, where she delivered remarks about the ongoing opioid crisis facing America.

The intensity of the boos were an apparent first for Ms Trump, who has largely avoided direct backlash during her husband's polarising presidency, and reporters who cover her regularly were quick to note on Tuesday that they had never encountered that level of aggravation aimed at the first lady during a solo appearance.

In live stream of the event, the boos can be heard amid some applause as she was introduced on stage at the B'More Youth Summit. The boos lasted for about a minute, and then continued sporadically during her remarks.

"In my three years covering [Ms Trump] at events, that was the worst booing she has received at a public event where she has given solo remarks," tweeted Kate Bennett, a CNN reporter who attended the event and provided updates as a part of the White House press pool

The event at the University of Maryland Baltimore County campus was geared towards addressing the impact of opioid addiction on young Americans. Ms Trump, undeterred by the heckling, thanked her audience and promised the crowd of students that she would continue fighting for them with her "Be Best" campaign.

"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.

She continued: "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."

That residents of Baltimore do not hold the Trump family in the highest esteem may come as no surprise, after Donald Trump's repeated verbal attacks on the city earlier this year. At that time, Mr Trump called the city rat and poverty stricken, raising a national outcry and debate around urban and minority poverty rates.

But, Ms Trump is not the only first lady to be booed, even if it is uncommon for the president's wife — who historically enjoy much higher approval ratings than their husbands — to be received in such a poor fashion.

Former first lady Michelle Obama, for instance, was memorably booed in 2011 as she attended a NASCAR event alongside Dr Jill Biden, the wife of Joe Biden. She was reportedly booed at other junctures during her time as first lady, too.

Meanwhile, there are very few documented instances in which former first lady Laura Bush, wife of George W Bush, was booed at a public event.

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