00:03 GMT +312 November 2019
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    US first lady Melania Trump and Stacey Cunningham, president of the NYSE Group at the New York Stock Exchange

    Melania Trump Grilled by Netizens For 'Photo Opportunity' at NY Stock Exchange Bell Ringing Ceremony

    BRENDAN MCDERMID
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    First Lady Melania Trump appeared at the iconic New York Stock Exchange bell ringing ceremony while promoting her Be Best initiative.

    US First Lady Melania Trump has been roasted by social media users after she rang the New York Stock Exchange's opening bell on Monday as part of her Be Best initiative.

    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.

    ​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.

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