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US First lady Melania Trump draws boos at Baltimore youth summit on opioid awareness

21:25  26 november  2019
21:25  26 november  2019 Source:   msn.com

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First lady Melania Trump drew a a mixed reception at a Baltimore youth summit on opioid awareness, where she told a crowd that “drugs will only slow you down.”

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“I know each of you has hopes and dreams for the future, whether it’s college, joining the military or playing sports,” the first lady told more than a thousand middle and high school students Tuesday at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Event Center. “Your future will be determined by the choices you make. Using drugs will only slow you down.”

Middle and high schoolers booed Melania Trump for 30 seconds at an opioid awareness event in Baltimore

  Middle and high schoolers booed Melania Trump for 30 seconds at an opioid awareness event in Baltimore The booing lasted for approximately 30 seconds as First Lady Melania Trump was introduced at the Baltimore Youth Summit on Opioid Awareness. As Trump began to speak, some in the crowd continued to jeer at her. Talking over the audience, Trump said: "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." The first lady's appearance occurred as part of her "Be Best" initiative, which focuses on three main pillars: "well-being, online safety, and opioid abuse.

Trump was introduced by Jim Wahlberg — the brother of actor Mark Wahlberg — at the B’More Youth Summit on Opioid Awareness. The educational event was sponsored in part by the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation, which raises funds for youth programs.

“Listen,” Jim Wahlberg implored the crowd as Trump stood on the stage with him. He asked the students in the audience to stand if they had lost someone they loved to an overdose. A number of people stood.

He then introduced Trump to a mixture of cheers and boos.

“This is an issue that has impacted many lives in your community,” she said. “I hope that the knowledge you gain here will help you tackle the tough decisions you may face so that you can lead healthy and drug-free lives.”

She touted her “Be Best” initiative that focuses on issues facing children, including online safety and opioid abuse.

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The words “Be Best” briefly appeared on a screen above where Trump delivered her roughly six-minute speech.

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“I have used ‘Be Best’ to shine a light on programs like these that show what it means to ‘Be Best.’ she said. “Whether it be showing a simple act of kindness, providing care where there is need, or teaching something valuable, this initiative promotes the positive actions happening in our communities and around the globe.”

She received mostly applause — and some loud boos — as she wished the students a happy Thanksgiving and left the stage. Trump was scheduled to return to the White House where she and the president were to participate in the holiday tradition of “pardoning” a turkey.

Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby and U.S. Attorney Robert Hur also spoke at the event, which was also sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s 360 Strategy, which is designed to combat heroin and opioid use. The program included a hip-hop group, a DJ, and a performance by the Baltimore City College marching band.

“We’re currently living through a massive public health crisis,” Mosby told the audience, emphasizing the prevalence of overdose deaths.

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President Donald Trump has had a tempestuous relationship with Baltimore. In a week of criticism last summer, he alleged billions of dollars in federal aid to the city had been “wasted” and “stolen." City officials disputed that claim.

The president returned to his criticism in an address to House Republicans at a Baltimore retreat in September. “We’re going to fight for the future of cities like Baltimore that have been destroyed by decades of failed and corrupt rule,” he said.

Baltimore’s representatives in Congress have been seeking more federal help to combat illegal drug use.

The late Rep. Elijah Cummings, a Baltimore Democrat, long promoted legislation that would provide $100 billion over 10 years for services to combat substance use disorders. The legislation is modeled after the Ryan White Act of 1990, which provided billions of federal dollars to combat the AIDS crisis.

The measure continues to be sponsored in the Senate by Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren, a presidential candidate, but it has not advanced in Congress.

Maryland has been receiving tens of millions of dollars from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from a program designed to expand access to opioid treatment. The program seeks to address the opioid crisis, in part, by making federally-approved medications more widely available.

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©2019 The Baltimore Sun

Visit The Baltimore Sun at www.baltimoresun.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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