First Lady Melania Trump visted a Boston hospital Wednesday to discuss a program where mothers and volunteers cuddle babies born addicted to controlled substances, only to meet with dozens of leftist protesters “decrying the immigration stance and policies of her husband, President Donald Trump,” according to CNN.
Around 200 protesters, who claimed to be nurses, doctors, and “health care workers” from Boston Medical Center where Trump was meeting with leadership and viewing the baby-cuddling program, carried signs opposing “babies in cages,” and calling for an end to the “Trump-Pence regime.”
Medical professionals standing in solidarity at Boston Medical center in protest of First Lady Melania Trumps visit.
First lady visiting cuddle program at Boston hospital for babies born on drugs.@boston25 pic.twitter.com/DPDaFxnI5j
— Scott McDonnell (@ScottMcDonnell_) November 6, 2019
The protest appeared to be organized by “ResistFascism.com,” a program of, ANSWER (“Act Now to Stop War and End Racism”), a group of international socialists and Communists that have protested Republican presidencies since the early 2000s.
The cuddling program, which has met with incredible success, helps babies born addicted to opioids and other controlled substances — a condition called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome — handle the process of withdrawl after birth. The First Lady has made programs like Boston Medical Center’s the hallmark of her child health platform, and regularly visits children who are living with complicated and, often, terminal illnesses.
First Ladies aren’t usually the focus of protests against their husband’s policies, but the rules have changed under the Trump Administration, where few members of the Trump family — including the president’s young son, Barron, and his children and grandchildren — are still off limits.
Wednesday’s protest was not the first protest the First Lady has faced during her husband’s tenure, but it was easily the largest.
“She’s married to Donald Trump, and he is such a symbol of so much of what we stand against,” one protester, a pediatrician at the hospital who works with the program Trump was exploring, explained, as though that somehow justified the demonstration.
Other protesters said they objected to Mrs. Trump’s mere presence at the Boston hospital, where she could take part in photo opportunities, which they believe could traumatize some of the patients.
The protesters also got the support of Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), who added that Trump was undermining “the efforts of the incredible staff at BMC and health centers across the nation,” according to the New York Daily News.
I stand w/ the hundreds of employees standing in the cold, calling out the cruelty of this Administration's policies that hurt families in #MA7 including @The_BMC patients. My statement on the protest against the Trump Administration's visit to #Boston https://t.co/4g1iq0f4IH
— Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (@RepPressley) November 6, 2019
Pressley did not elaborate on her statement, so it’s not entirely clear exactly how President Trump’s “cruelty” actually is “undermining” the efforts of health care workers (other than the typical complaints, of course).
The hospital itself saw things differently. After hearing about the protest, the Boston Medical Center’s CEO, Kate Walsh said she intended to keep the hospital’s appointment with the First Lady, and use the visit as an opportunity to showcase to both the public and the Trump Administration how well Medicaid dollars are being used.
“[T]he visit will be a unique opportunity to share our values of respect and inclusion with federal leaders whose policies have a significant impact on the vulnerable populations we are dedicated to serving,” Walsh said in a statement. “Two-thirds of our patients have some form of government insurance, and our health plan is the largest participant in the state’s Medicaid accountable care organization, so the opportunity to highlight the innovative work we are doing is critical to ensuring that we are able to continue to deliver on our mission well into the future.”
The First Lady, for her part, was gracious.
“Mrs. Trump enjoyed visiting Boston Medical Center to meet with the center’s leadership and medical staff and learn about the impressive programs available that support and provide care to mothers struggling with drug addiction and babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome,” her press secretary told media in a statement.