First Lady Melania Trump is the wife of the 45th President, Donald J. Trump and the mother to their son, Barron Trump. She is the second First Lady born outside of the United States, and she is the only First Lady to become a naturalized United States citizen. Through her BE BEST initiative, she has become an ambassador of kindness, an advocate for issues impacting the lives of children, and has given a voice to our Nation’s most vulnerable children and families.
Melania Trump was born on April 26, 1970 in Slovenia. At age 16, she began what would soon become a highly successful modeling career, appearing in many high profile ad campaigns and working with some of the best photographers in the fashion industry.
In 1996, Mrs. Trump moved to New York and 10 years later, she proudly became a United States Citizen. Mrs. Trump has always been an active member of her community. In 2005, she was Honorary Chairwoman for the Martha Graham Dance Company. That same year, she was awarded Goodwill Ambassador by the American Red Cross—a role she served in for four years. Mrs. Trump served five years as Honorary Chairwoman for the Boys’ Club of New York and was named Woman of the Year in 2006 by the Police Athletic League.
In 2010, Mrs. Trump was the Chairwoman for the American Heart Association, which raised $1.7 million for research. That same year she launched her own jewelry collection.
While Melania Trump became a household name in modeling and a contributing member of her community, she is first and foremost a mother and wife, and in 2017, Melania Trump made the White House and Washington home for her family.
In her role as First Lady, Mrs. Trump focuses her time on the many issues affecting children across the Nation. An unwavering characteristic of the First Lady is her aptitude for showing love and compassion in all that she does. Mrs. Trump spends much of her time meeting with children all over the world—in classrooms, hospitals, care facilities, at home in the White House, and in communities worldwide.
It was this passion that led to the establishment of BE BEST, Mrs. Trump’s awareness campaign focused around the well-being of children and highlighting the people and programs dedicated to ensuring a better future for our next generation. The campaign has three pillars: well-being, which includes the social and emotional health of children; online safety, which focuses on educating families on how to protect children online and promote healthy online habits; and opioid abuse, focused on protecting our most vulnerable from the effects of drug abuse while promoting resources and programs for all who struggle with addiction.
Since its launch, BE BEST has been dedicated to shining a light on the people and programs doing extraordinary things for children both in the United States and around the world. While promoting well-being, Mrs. Trump traveled to National Parks highlighting the importance of natural resources, history, wildlife, and great outdoors to young people. She also spent time working with groups such as the Red Cross and FEMA to ensure children are educated and prepared for natural disasters. Mrs. Trump elevated awareness around issues such as Sickle Cell Disease, Social-Emotional Learning curriculum (SEL), protecting Native American children in the Indian Health Service System (IHS), and issues within our Nation’s child welfare system.
With technology and social media emerging as a daily routine in children’s lives, Mrs. Trump found it important to promote online safety and educate families on healthy online habits. Mrs. Trump met with leaders in technology to raise awareness on the tools and resources available to protect children, spoke to parents and teachers about the importance of educating children on how to safely interact with one another on the Internet, and met with families who tragically lost loved ones due to online attacks.
In the midst of the opioid epidemic, Mrs. Trump used BE BEST to raise awareness about the dangers of opioid abuse—notably the devastating effects it has on infants and unborn babies. Mrs. Trump met with medical professionals and families in recovery and traveled to countless hospitals and treatment centers to promote innovative treatment and recovery programs for babies born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). Mrs. Trump’s overarching goal was to help reduce the stigma surrounding addiction and encourage others to adopt similar treatment programs within their own community. In addition to her hospital and treatment facility visits, Mrs. Trump became a leading voice in the public and private sector on the negative impacts opioids have on children and families and encouraged public-private sector partnerships to help overcome the epidemic.
BE BEST also held a role on the international stage. In October of 2018, First Lady Melania Trump embarked on a solo international trip to Africa; visiting Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, and Egypt, highlighting impactful hospitals, schools, and USAID programs benefiting children. The First Lady also joined the President on countless international visits and met with more than 30 foreign diplomats, heads of state, and their spouses to share solutions to the issues impacting children globally.
In addition to BE BEST, Mrs. Trump had a deep appreciation for the military and their families. She traveled to military bases domestically and overseas, including Iraq in 2018, and regularly incorporated military families in public engagements. The First Lady also worked with Second Lady Karen Pence in expanding the American Red Cross Comfort Kit program to include deployed United States troops who are stationed away from home during the holidays.
Mrs. Trump also played an integral role in honoring the 100th Anniversary of the Ratification of the 19th Amendment and the women’s suffrage movement in the summer of 2020. She hosted a children’s art competition that depicted drawings of individuals, objects, and events that hold a significant meaning to the women’s suffrage movement. She featured a winner from each state in the Building the Movement Exhibit and worked alongside the bipartisan Women’s Suffrage Centennial Commission to pass legislation that authorized the “Every Word We Utter” Monument in Washington, D.C.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Mrs. Trump used her platform to publish public service announcements promoting helpful guidance and reminders from the Center for Disease Control (CDC). During this time, the First Lady kept in constant communication with State and local governments, foreign leaders, and also developed creative online engagements with children to do from the safety of their homes. In addition to these official efforts, Mrs. Trump sent care packages and donated lunches to hospitals, local law enforcement officers, foster care facilities, and others who fought the virus from the frontlines.
As First Lady, Mrs. Trump looks forward to continuing her work on behalf of children and the issues she is passionate about.