From Barron to casserole, first lady opens up on White House

First lady Melania Trump opened up a bit Wednesday about life in the Trump White House, where 12-year-old Barron is more interested in sports than social media, she has no inclination to make casseroles and she thinks the red topiary trees work just fine as part of her holiday decor.

Mrs. Trump spoke at a forum at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, to raise awareness about the opioid epidemic, one pillar of her "Be Best" initiative. It was a rare appearance in which she took impromptu questions from an audience.

The first lady said she's talked with Barron about the dangers of opioids and other drugs.

"I teach him what is right, what is wrong," Mrs. Trump said. "I will always tell him that drugs — they could be very dangerous and they could mess up your mind and body, and to love yourself more than you love drugs."

She had a ready response when asked about criticism of the red holiday topiaries lining the East Colonnade that some have said look creepy.

"We are in 21st century and everybody has a different taste," she said. "I think they look fantastic. ... In real life, they look even more beautiful."

Mrs. Trump said both she and the president have packed schedules, but they try to have dinner together in the White House and "just talk what's happened through the day."

"When you're first lady, there's no free time," she added.

Asked if she ever gives the White House chefs a night off and heads to the kitchen to make a casserole, Mrs. Trump paused before offering: "Not really. We can do that. Maybe in the future when I'm a little bit less busy."

The first lady said that she knew she would be criticized about her "Be Best" initiative to promote healthy living and encourage kindness, respect and positive online behavior. She said Barron doesn't engage in social media because he's "all into sports."

She added that, for all the importance of civil behavior: "Sometimes you need to fight back, I'm sorry."

Asked if she'll write an autobiography, the first lady said she hadn't thought it about it, but added that "what's going on in my life" could produce "many books."

One part of the first lady's "Be Best" initiative is about fighting opioid abuse. Nearly 48,000 people died last year from overdoses involving opioids. She stressed the importance of getting rid of the stigma associated with opioid or other substance addiction.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen joined Mrs. Trump at the event.

Azar said opioid addiction is not a "moral failing," but a "medical issue." He said fewer of the drugs are being prescribed, and that since January 2017, legal opioid prescription use is down more than 23 percent.

Nielson said her agency works to prevent illicit sources of opioids from getting into the United States. She noted legislation that President Donald Trump recently signed to help tackle the opioid crisis, the deadliest epidemic of overdoses in the country's history.

The legislation will add treatment options and get the U.S. Postal Service to screen overseas packages for a synthetic form of opioids called fentanyl that are being shipped largely from China.

"Much of the fentanyl is still coming from China through the mail," Nielsen said. "About a pound of fentanyl can cause 150,000 deaths. That's how fatal fentanyl is."

Reader Comments

Next Up in Health

This everyday task can help you avoid high blood pressure, study says
This everyday task can help you avoid high blood pressure, study says

A healthy diet and consistent workout routine can help you avoid high blood pressure. But there’s a simple task that can also lower your risk, according to a new report.  Researchers from the University at Buffalo recently conducted a study, published in the American Journal of Hypertension, to determine the link between dental...
'Baby, It's Cold Outside' writer's daughter says song isn't about date rape
'Baby, It's Cold Outside' writer's daughter says song isn't about date rape

The daughter of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" writer Frank Loesser is firing back against critics who are giving the holiday classic a frosty reception this year. Susan Loesser, 74, spoke to NBC News last week, defending the 1944 song against claims that it normalizes date rape. "Bill Cosby ruined it for everybody," she said...
More blood pressure medication recalled due to possible cancer risk
More blood pressure medication recalled due to possible cancer risk

Yet another blood pressure medication has been added to the list of recalled hypertension drugs.  Mylan Pharmaceuticals has voluntarily expanded its recall for its valsartan-containing products, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced. The affected pills include valsartan, amlodipine/valsartan and valsartan/hydrochlorothiazide...
6 things you may not know about Christmas 
6 things you may not know about Christmas 

Christmas has many traditions that are so entrenched you probably don't give them much thought. But when you consider why things are done the way they are, you'll find that just about every element of Christmas has an interesting, evolving story behind it. Here are six things you may not know about Christmas: Dec. 25 probably wasn't the day when Jesus...
Tracking Santa: Where's Santa now and when will he be at your home?
Tracking Santa: Where's Santa now and when will he be at your home?

It's the question at the top of every child's mind on Christmas eve: where is Santa now and when will he get to my house? Fortunately, there are several ways to track St. Nick so you can see when he's scheduled to arrive in various parts of the world. Whether you prefer a website, an app, social media or even an old-school phone call, it's easy to...
More Stories