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Melania Trump, Met Gala, Gina Haspel: Broadsheet May 8th

May 8, 2018, 11:48 AM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Melania Trump announces her official platform, the DNC gets more diverse, and New York AG Eric Schneiderman resigns amid allegations of physical abuse. Have a zen Tuesday.

EVERYONE'S TALKING

 Be Best. Yesterday afternoon, Melania Trump announced her first official initiative as first lady. Speaking at a live news conference from the White House's Rose Garden, she described "Be Best," her new, three-pronged awareness campaign dedicated to children's emotional and physical wellness. Trump has broken the initiative into three pillars:

  1. Well-being: The focus of the first pillar is on “teaching positive skills and decision making,” Trump said. “Let us teach our children the difference between right and wrong and encourage them to be best in their unique paths in life.”
  2. Social media: The second pillar of "Be Best" is cyberbullying prevention. Back in March, the first lady met with top tech executives and Internet safety-focused nonprofits at the White House; she said she intends to keep in close contact with those executives to work towards a safer social media environment.
  3. Opioid abuse: Trump says she will bacl programs that are helping opioid-addicted parents and their children recover.

While it's not unusual for a first lady to choose an issue to support—Laura Bush established the National Book Festival and raised awareness of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, while Michelle Obama promoted girls’ education and started a movement to get children to exercise and eat healthier—the decision to spearhead such a public initiative feels out of character for Trump. She has drawn more attention for being out of the spotlight than being in it—even sparking rumors that she doesn't actually live in the White House.

Recently, however, the first lady seems to be becoming more comfortable in the public eye. A case in point: Earlier this month, her office released a behind-the-scenes video documenting her planning of the state dinner for France's president and first lady, which has received 1.5 million views. Her rising profile may even be changing public perceptions: A new CNN/SSRS poll found that the number of Americans who view Melania Trump favorably jumped 10 percentage points from January (47%) to May (57%).

There are, of course, plenty of opinions out there about "Be Best," ranging from criticism of the name itself, to commentary arguing that its pillars are at odds it is with much of what her husband represents. Personally, I look forward to seeing the first lady taking on a bigger role in the administration. And if her "care and compassion" truly does inspire President Trump, as he said after her announcement yesterday, that can only be a good thing. Fortune

ALSO IN THE HEADLINES

So long, Schneiderman. New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman resigned last night, hours after The New Yorker published a harrowing report in which four women with whom he has had romantic relationships or encounters accused him of nonconsensual physical violence. Two of the four—Michelle Manning Barish and Tanya Selvaratnam—told their stories on the record, both reporting that "they eventually sought medical attention after having been slapped hard across the ear and face, and also choked." Schneiderman, who has long been a champion of women’s rights, had become an outspoken figure in the #MeToo movement, and used his legal authority to take action against Harvey Weinstein and demand greater compensation for the victims of the disgraced producer alleged crimes. In a statement, Schneiderman said: "I have not assaulted anyone. I have never engaged in nonconsensual sex, which is a line I would not cross.” The New Yorker

Missus Governors. As many as 77 women are expected to run in the 36 states with a governor’s race this year, according to Rutgers University's Center for American Women and Politics. That's more than double the record of 34 female candidates in 1994. State-level victories don't just matter for those locales; the office has been a prime stepping stone to the Oval Office, with 17 former governors going on to become presidents. Fortune

He wants Haspel. President Trump doubled down on his support for Gina Haspel, his nominee for CIA director, via a tweet yesterday morning: "My highly respected nominee for CIA Director, Gina Haspel, has come under fire because she was too tough on Terrorists. Think of that, in these very dangerous times, we have the most qualified person, a woman, who Democrats want OUT because she is too tough on terror. Win Gina!" Haspel's nomination is controversial because of her involvement in an enhanced interrogations program, which some describe as torture. Fortune

Are open offices sexist? Two British researchers studied the process of a local government moving its 1,100 employees from a series of traditional offices to one big open office, interviewing 27 women and 13 men over the course of three years. The researchers found that "many women became hyper-aware of being constantly watched and their appearance constantly evaluated." On the other hand, there was no evidence that men felt similarly or changed their actions as a result of the lack of privacy. Fast Company

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Abernathy MacGregor has promoted Carina Davidson to president. Jennifer “JJ” Davis is joining Tyson Foods as VP of corporate communications. Bustle Digital Group has tapped Lauren Caruso as managing editor of The Zoe Report. BuzzFeed has named Lauren Dolgen head of BuzzFeed Studios.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

A more diverse DNC. Nearly half of the Democratic National Committee's staff are now people of color and 51% are women, according to a report published yesterday. The boost in numbers comes after the party received criticism for taking the groups for granted; people of color—especially African-American women—are Democrats’ most loyal voters. NBC News

Women, interrupted. A Stanford linguistics researcher studying Americans' perceptions of interruptions found—surprise, suprise—a gender difference in how the behavior is perceived. "Male listeners were more likely to view women who interrupted another speaker in the audio clips as ruder, less friendly and less intelligent than men who interrupted." Stanford News

Lean In in theaters? Would you watch a movie without a makeover scene? Hollywood doesn't think so. Lean In's co-author, Nell Scovell, says that although a studio got on board with producing a film based on the bestseller, they had to part ways after it became apparent that Scovell had a very different vision for it—one that didn't look anything like Pretty Woman. The film is currently "in turnaround," meaning it may (or may not) get made if another studio decides to take it on.  Recode

Best dressed. Just for fun, here are some of the most interesting looks from last night's Met Gala. (I see you, Lena Waithe!) Vogue

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ON MY RADAR

96-year-old secretary quietly amasses fortune, then donates $8.2 million New York Times

RBG is the best imaginable retaliation to mansplaining New York Magazine

Who runs mutual funds? Very few women New York Times

Jeffrey Tambor opens up about sexual harassment allegations: “Lines got blurred” Vanity Fair

QUOTE

I had inadvertently created classes of employees — and by doing so, had done my part to contribute to America’s inequality problem.
Rent the Runway co-founder and CEO Jennifer Hyman, on the result of having different benefits policies for different employee groups