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Melania Trump Does Her Best Nancy Reagan

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Melania Trump has finally done it. She’s assumed the full form of Nancy Reagan, if not in appearance, in substance. Anti-substance substance, that is. The current first lady announced her new social media initiative on curbing substance abuse on Thursday—right in time for National Substance Abuse Prevention Month (October). It’s called #BeDrugFree. As a slogan, it’s a little more direct than “Just Say No,” but with a little less poetic flair. Regardless, World War on Drugs II is underway. 

The video itself shows a blond Melania (welcome back, girl!) speaking over her left shoulder like she could only talk to camera B because camera A was broken and we’re doing it live so you just gotta go. The uneasiness and angle are strange just because, before all this, Melania was a successful QVC saleswoman. She designed inexpensive jewelry that apparently sold well, and was pretty good at all this taped-spot stuff. You can watch a lot of the interviews on YouTube. In them she can still be stilted and guarded; she still has her verbal tics like saying “A to Z,” but there are moments of warmth and personality. She’s often thrilled to talk about a watch you could wear on the tennis courts of Palm Beach or the bracelets she designed based on one of her own bracelets, one that cost much more than her version. She’s game. 

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And it’s not like she isn’t game in this little announcement video, one of several she’s been in during her years as first lady, but I think the first done from the side. She seems game! You just wonder how many takes it took to get to the smile at 2:08. It comes across a little like she’s exhausted with this stuff. Maybe if she didn’t have to hold her head at that angle it would be better. 

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Anyway, she turns it over to Jim Carroll, the White House–appointed director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, who mentions grants and calls to “promote actions that encourage” something something something and asks youths to “find ways to support or become involved in local prevention efforts, including those that focus on primary prevention using evidence-based strategies that work”—words we all understand and get meaning from, especially the youths.

It sounds like we’re going to get some examples. Carroll turns it back over to Melania, who promises to highlight those involved in “substance-use-prevention coalitions” who are “being their best,” meaning “being drug-free.” 

It’s all a little hard to square, though, with what her husband did just two days ago, trying to attack his opponent based on his son’s drug problem. Do personal attacks on struggling family members count as primary prevention using evidence-based strategies? Could Jim Carroll weigh in?

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