First Lady Melania Trump is set to be recognized by Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBAU) as its 2020 “Woman of Distinction,” but it appears graduates of the small Christian college are not thrilled with the choice.
The university typically fetes two women who have contributed to the community each year at an honorary luncheon, the Palm Beach Post reports.
Melania Trump will be the sole recipient of the recognition at this year’s awards luncheon, though, which will be held on Feb. 19.
“Our first lady is an exquisite human being, a magnificent wife and life partner, a superb mother and an outstanding first lady,” the luncheon’s co-chairwoman Eileen Burns told USA Today.
“First ladies define the history of our country” Frances Fisher, another co-chairwoman for the event at the private Christian university, told the Palm Beach Post. “We are honored to recognize Mrs. Trump as a Woman of Distinction and the only first lady since Mrs. Kennedy to be a Palm Beach resident. This will be a truly memorable event.”
However, one graduate of the university, Kyra Kinnaman is not pleased with the choice.
In an op-ed in the Palm Beach Post, Kinnaman writes that Melania is not the kind of “distinction” PBAU should be awarding.
Kinnaman lists 4 reasons why she feels the choice is terrible.
A. Melania Trump has pulled publicity stunts that are disrespectful to the dignity of human persons. She wore a now infamous jacket with the text “I DON’T REALLY CARE, DO U?” on the back while on a visit to an immigration detention center. While she has tried to give context to this fashion choice by saying that it was to troll the left-wing media, it was a personal decision and a blatant disregard for the human rights atrocities that are occurring at the U.S. Southern border (still today). While the Woman of Distinction honor is supposed to recognize her work in bettering the lives of children, she has not spoken up once against family separation at the border, used her influence on her husband to allow for donated vaccines for detained migrants and their children or advocated for any change to the living conditions at the detention centers where people are quite literally dying.
B. The BE BEST campaign is not consistent with the rest of her actions as first lady. She has never criticized President Donald Trump’s frequent online harassment of many people, notably including 16-year-old climate change activist Greta Thunberg — a minor.
C. As a learning institution, it should be concerning that its chosen Woman of Distinction allegedly plagiarized part of a speech previously given by former first lady Michelle Obama.
D. Melania Trump has done nothing to separate herself from the nationalist, racist narrative often promulgated by the Trump White House. The administration has pardoned war criminals and then hosted them at Mar-a-Lago, defended white nationalists, and very recently escalated what many believe was a baseless conflict with Iran.