WASHINGTON — After all the lectures from the superior folks on the left about the, well, "deplorable" tone of the Trump base, it has come to this: Tuesday morning, middle and high school students booed first lady Melania Trump as she spoke at the B'More Youth Summit on Opioid Awareness.
Rather than use the cringe-inducing incident as a teachable moment about civility, which is a focus of the first lady's "Be Best" anti-drug, anti-bullying campaign, progressive pundits applauded the teens' nasty tantrum.
April Ryan of Urban Radio tweeted, "Your husband can't disrespect #Baltimore & its late, great leader Rep. Elijah Cummings & then @FLOTUS thinks it's going to be all love. In order to show others how to #BeBest, Melania Trump has to convince @realDonaldTrump."
Tweeps typed out a new hashtag #Melaniabooed so they could share their glee at attempts to humiliate the first lady.
Progressive activist Ryan Knight crowed, "@FLOTUS is not a victim. She got booed because she sat back in silence as her husband has betrayed our country, our constitution, and our values. She's earned every single one of these boos. HER SILENCE IS COMPLICITY."
Actor Mark Hamill came out with what he clearly considered a clever retake on the first lady's anti-bullying and anti-drug "Be Best" efforts. "#Boobest," tweeted Hamill. (Alas, young Skywalker has gone to the dark side.)
"In my years covering her, this was the first booing of @FLOTUS by a crowd at one of her solo events," said CNN's Kate Bennett, who was with the pool that covered the event.
The president's family members are civilians. Unless they make overtly partisan statements, they should be off-limits from the commander in chief's constant critics, who never sleep.
Melania Trump's "Be Best" campaign, to my mind, is the first lady's unique way of standing up to her husband's bullying ways. Her signature issue is an unapologetic call for more civility and less self-destruction — and that is driving progressive furies insane.
She got booed, not for scolding kids on drug use, but for telling those struggling with addiction to "reach out for support." And assuring them, "It is never too late to ask for help."
If teens did the same to former first lady Michelle Obama, their behavior would be called hate speech. And rightly so. Cable news anchors would share their horror at such incivility, because that's no way to treat a first lady.
From what I've seen — and I've looked — coverage about the Baltimore teens' be-worst behavior was scant and light on lectures. For once, cable viewers could watch and wonder, "Where's the outrage?"
Their hatred toward Melania Trump is so out of control that, the day before — when President Donald Trump brought Conan, the military attack dog wounded in the fatal raid that killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, into the Rose Garden — CNN contributor Joan Walsh tweeted that it was "terrifying" Trump and the first lady moved away from the canine warrior.
How dare Melania Trump not stick her head into Conan's mouth? For folks such as Walsh, it's not enough to hate Trump. You have to hate his whole family. (In what felt like a return to the 1960s, Walsh also criticized the first lady's coat as "slightly macabre.")
The left sets up a series of rules for how you have to treat their icons — with kid gloves. Victims who made anonymous accusations didn't want to come forward with their decades-old charges, so even the accused should be gentle. The public doesn't have a right to know the whistleblower's identity because of the courage it took to come forward.
Melania Trump gets no such breaks.
The first lady reacted with more style than those who jeered her. In a statement after the event, she concentrated on the focus of her remarks, not the bellowing that greeted her good intentions.
"We live in a democracy and everyone is entitled to their own opinion," she tweeted, "but the fact is we have a serious crisis in our country and I remain committed to educating children on the dangers and deadly consequences of drug abuse."
At least in this story, there is one woman who knows how to be best.
Contact Debra J. Saunders at [email protected] or 202-662-7391. Follow @DebraJSaunders on Twitter.