First lady Melania Trump was faced with a rare protest during her visit late afternoon Wednesday to the Boston Medical Center (BMC), as hospital employees stood in silence but mocked her with signs including one that read, "We Care Do U?"
After a short briefing on other programmes aimed at pregnant women with substance abuse issues and their babies, FLOTUS is scheduled to tour the hospital's pediatric care unit "to see firsthand how these programmes are implemented and meet with the children and families who have been successfully treated", the White House said. "We are so proud and honored that of all the places you could have chosen to go and visit to build your understanding of this issue, you chose MA and Boston Medical Center". Two workers were spotted having written, "We really care, do u?" in large letters on the backs of their white lab coats, a play on the "I really don't care, do u?" jacket the first lady wore on her trip to and from an immigration intake center in Texas previous year.
Trump was particularly interested in Boston Medical Center's Cuddling Assists in Lowering Maternal and Infant Stress program, which consists of medical staff, parents and trained volunteers cradling babies in an effort to lower their stress levels as they experience withdrawal symptoms from having been exposed in utero to drug use by their mothers.
Protesters said they are anxious about the message Melania Trump's appearance sends to patients - especially those who are immigrants.
"We are not here in opposition of first lady Trump being here", said Neena McConnico, director of a BMC program that helps children and families impacted by trauma, who joined the protest outside.
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She has held many events with children as part of the campaign. Walsh sent an email to the hospital's 6,000 employees, saying of her decision to keep the first lady's plans intact, "the 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".
One user said: "Careful. the babies might get Frost Bite!"
Many doctors, nurses and students said they were not directly protesting Mrs. Trump, and some welcomed the attention to the hospital's infant and opioid programs.
Eduardo Garza, a resident at BMC, said he understands it is not easy to refuse a visit from the first lady.
Protest organisers said they sent out a letter last week asking to cancel the top-profile visit, with employees planning a late-morning demonstration in front of the hospital on Wednesday.
"I hope today's visit helps shine a light", Trump said. On Monday, about 75 people met with the hospital's president and Walsh, the hospital's chief executive, according to several people who attended. "So numerous programs are available because of the dedicated leaders and researchers like you".