Melania Trump, Who Said Journalist 'Provoked' anti-Semitic Abuse, Vows to Fight Cyberbullying

In rare speech, Republican candidate's wife plans to take on women and children's issues in White House. In May, she said she doesn't control her fans after Julia Ioffe was inundated with abuse after publishing profile of her.

Melania Trump, wife of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, speaks at the Main Line Sports Center in Berwyn, Pa., Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016.
AP / Patrick Semansky

Donald Trump's wife, Melania, stumped for her husband in a rare appearance on the trail on Thursday, speaking in Berwyn, Pennsylvania and telling an enthusiastic crowd of her plans to focus on women and children's issues if she became first lady. 

Specifically, Trump said that she would take on cyberbullying. 

"It is never OK when a 12-year-old girl or boy is mocked, bullied or attacked It is absolutely unacceptable when it is done by someone with no name hiding on the internet," Trump said. 

“We have to find a better way to talk to each other, to disagree with each other, to respect each other,” she continued. “We must find better ways to honor and support the basic goodness of our children, especially in social media. It will be one of the main focuses of my work if I’m privileged enough to become your First Lady.”

In May, however, Trump suggested that a journalist who published a negative profile about her was to blame for the cyberbullying she subsequently faced from anonymous fans of the Republican candidate on Twitter. Julia Ioffe “provoked” the anti-Semitic abuse, Trump said. 

“I don’t control my fans,” Melania said in an interview with DuJour. “But I don’t agree with what they’re doing. I understand what you mean, but there are people out there who maybe went too far. She provoked them." 

Ioffe, who is Jewish, received calls from people playing Hitler speeches, told that she “should be burned in an oven,” “be shot in the head,” and was sent photoshopped images of her in a concentration camp uniform. 

A Time report also noted that Melania Trump failed to mention her husband's use of social media, where, among other things, he has tweeted that Fox's Megyn Kelly was a "bimbo" and urged his followers to "check out" an alleged sex-tape of former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, which doesn't exist.

Last month, an anti-Defamation League task force tracking a “spike” in online harassment of journalists credited self-identified supporters of Donald Trump with the lion’s share of the anti-Semitic tweets aimed at reporters and broadcasters.

ADL focused its analysis on tweets directed at 50,000 journalists in the United States, finding 19,253 anti-Semitic tweets directed at them. Of those, a disproportionate number were directed at a small number of journalists. The top 10 most targeted journalists, who received 83 percent of the overtly anti-Semitic tweets, were all Jewish, including columnist Ben Shapiro of DailyWire.com, Tablet’s Yair Rosenberg, The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, The New York Times’ Jonathan Weisman, CNN’s Sally Kohn and Bethany Mandel of the New York Post.

Much of the online harassment of journalists was sent anonymously, the ADL said.