An 11-year-old boy named Joshua Trump was invited to attend President Donald Trump’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday by the First Lady, in connection with her anti-bullying initiatives. The sixth-grader has been bullied in school for sharing the same last name as the president.
ABC News, in all their wisdom, decided to focus in on Joshua for falling asleep during the late address, which ended at around 10:30 P.M. Eastern Standard Time.
“Trump’s namesake sleeps through president’s big speech,” reads a headline from ABC. The news organization also put out a tweet with a photo of the boy dozing off. “Pres. Trump had invited Joshua Trump as his State of the Union guest because the White House said the sixth-grader from Wilmington, Delaware, had been bullied because of his last name. He appeared to doze off during the speech,” the tweet’s caption says.
Though others online commented on Joshua falling asleep, the comments were in a lighthearted tone, praising the boy as a “#resistance hero.” The ABC article and tweet, on the other hand, were condemned by many for having a mean-spirited, bullying tone.
The news organization was quickly blasted online for targeting the boy. The tweet was so-called “ratioed,” a term generally used to describe unpopular content that earns far more replies than “likes.” As of Thursday afternoon, the ABC tweet received over 7,000 replies and only about 3,600 likes.
The Daily Wire’s Elisha Krauss likened the piece and accompanying tweet to “public harassment of a minor.”
“WTF ABC? Did you do stories about all the grown ass men and women from the left and right who also appeared to be sleeping? How is this not public harassment of a minor? Disgusting,” wrote Krauss.
Pro-life advocate Obianuju Ekeocha accused ABC of aggravating the boy’s bullying problem. “So now he gets back to his school and other students get to bully him some more because [ABC] decided to expose the poor boy for dozing off,” she wrote. “Pat yourselves on the back [ABC].”
The Daily Wire’s Kassy Dillon pointed out the obvious: “Yeah. It was late. He’s a kid.”
“Why is this news? Leave the kid who is already getting bullied alone,” Fox News contributor Lisa Boothe responded.
“Shame on you for posting this. He is a kid. What is wrong with you people?” wrote lawyer and talk radio host Jennifer Bukowsky.
“This went through a few layers before being posted here,” noted photographer Pete Halvorsen. “The 11 [year] old brought to the #SOTU after being bullied at school falls asleep during long ass speech so…let’s take his photo, select/edit photo, then publish the photo. Because, news?”
Joshua was invited by Mrs. Trump in connection to the First Lady’s anti-cyberbullying campaign, “Be Best.”
“They curse at him, they call him an idiot, they call him stupid,” the boy’s mother, Megan Trump, told WPVI in December. “He said he hates himself, and he hates his last name, and he feels sad all the time.”
“He was getting ridiculed and bullied for the fact that his last name was Trump,” said Bobby Berto, the sixth-grader’s father, adding, “I pulled him out of school and homeschooled him for a year.”