Melania was escorted by the exchange’s first female president, Stacey Cunningham, and joined by children from the United Nations International School as they discussed the exchange’s history.
While the First Lady received applause on the exchange floor and chatted with the children, netizens grilled Mrs. Trump for using the event for what they branded a “photo opportunity” with the children.
This came after parents expressed concerns their children’s appearance with the First Lady would signal an endorsement of the Trump administration.
While only 10 students were selected to go on the tour of the stock exchange with Melania, anxious parents were infuriated at the notion that their youngsters were being manipulated as ‘political props’.
Twitter users came down on the idea of schoolchildren being used as ‘props’ at the event.
Melania ringing the NY Stock Exchange bell- a stand in for her “husband”, the money-maker via market manipulation. Just another photo op with “diverse” students as props. Just say no.— Barbara Malmet (@B52Malmet) September 18, 2019
What does ringing open bell at NY stock exchange have to do with b best,this is just a dam photo op for Melania trying to keep her relevant n WH ,government & country,ringing a dam bell has no substance n helping these kids reach their potential,education,honesty,character will.— Brena-Bey46 (@Brena_Bey46) September 23, 2019
How does Melania do it? She's so busy cutting ribbons, ringing the stock exchange bell, walking behind Trump, unless it's a good day and Trump lets her walk decide him. And of course all that frowning, it's got to be exhausting.— P. Roegele (@PRoegele) September 20, 2019
@realDonaldTrump melania ringing nysex bell for Be Best - She one who posted pic of orphaned baby exploiting him after parents killed Exploitation of child for power is criminal offense. Be best front for something b.c no mother in right mind would do what Melania did in El Paso— Mary (@m1125mille) September 19, 2019
Good to see Melania is not doing absolutely nothing. Ringing a bell is about her speed. Did I mention her visa application is fraudulent and she should be deported. You know- law and order. Vote all GOP out. Integrity matters.— David Greenfield (@dcgreenfield) September 23, 2019
Despite the criticism, the event celebrates a year since Melania began her Be Best initiative – a public awareness campaign focusing on well-being for youth, and advocating against cyber-bullying and drug (particularly opioid) use.
The bell ceremony is an iconic tradition that spans well over a century. Many notable people have run the bell since the tradition began in the late 1800s.