US First lady Melania Trump said Monday that she is ‘disappointed and disheartened’ by the deadly riot at the Capitol last week by supporters of her husband US President Donald Trump. But in breaking her silence, Melania Trump also lashed out at people she said have used the tragic event to spread “salacious gossip, unwarranted personal attacks and false and misleading accusations about me.”
The statement marked the first lady’s first public comment in the five days since a violent mob of Trump supporters, angry over Trump’s election loss and stirred up by the president himself, stormed the Capitol on Wednesday and temporarily disrupted proceedings certifying that Democrat Joe Biden will be the next president come January 20.
“I am disappointed and disheartened with what happened last week,” she wrote in a White House blog post released before sunrise. “I find it shameful that surrounding these tragic events there has been salacious gossip, unwarranted personal attacks, and false misleading accusations on me from people who are looking to be relevant and have an agenda.” The first lady did not say who she was referring to.
Last week, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, the first lady’s former friend and one-time assistant at the White House, wrote an editorial accusing Mrs Trump of being ‘complicit in the destruction of America’. Their friendship ended bitterly after Wolkoff, who had worked on arranging festivities for Trump’s inauguration in 2017, said the first lady failed to defend her after questions arose about inaugural spending, now the subject of federal and congressional investigations.
In the post on Monday, the first lady said, “This time is solely about healing our country and its citizens. It should not be used for personal gain. Our Nation must heal in a civil manner,” she wrote. “Make no mistake about it, I absolutely condemn the violence that has occurred on our Nation’s Capitol. Violence is never acceptable.”
She also urged people to stop the violence, not judge people by the colour of their skin or “use differing political ideologies as a basis for aggression and viciousness.” She made no comment about her husband or his role in encouraging his supporters to go to the Capitol.
Trump has spent the weeks after losing the November 2020 US presidential contest spreading baseless claims that the balloting was tainted by massive fraud and that the election was stolen from him. Numerous state and federal officials, including former US Attorney General William Barr, said there was no evidence of fraud on a scale massive enough to have affected the outcome.
Trump encouraged his supporters to flock to Washington last Wednesday, the day set for Congress to certify the presidential vote. After addressing a rally near the White House in which he encouraged his supporters to keep fighting, they stormed the Capitol. Five people, including a Capitol police officer, died.
In the post she said, “As an American, I am proud of our freedom to express our viewpoints without persecution. It is one of the paramount ideals which America is fundamentally built on. Many have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect that right. With that in mind, I would like to call on the citizens of this country to take a moment, pause, and look at things from all perspectives.”
“I implore people to stop the violence, never make assumptions based on the colour of a person’s skin or use differing political ideologies as a basis for aggression and viciousness. We must listen to one another, focus on what unites us, and rise above what divides us. It is inspiring to see that so many have found a passion and enthusiasm in participating in an election, but we must not allow that passion to turn to violence. Our path forward is to come together, find our commonalities, and be the kind and strong people that I know we are,” she added.
“Our country’s strength and character have revealed themselves in the communities that have been impacted by natural disasters and throughout this terrible pandemic that has affected all of us. The common thread in all of these challenging situations is American’s unwavering resolve to help one another. Your compassion has shown the true spirit of our country,” she stated.
“As I said over the summer, it is these defining moments that we will look back and tell our grandchildren that through empathy, strength, and determination, we were able to restore the promise of our future. Each of you are the backbone of this country. You are the people who continue to make the United States of America what it is, and who have the incredible responsibility of preparing our future generations to leave everything better than they found it,” Melania also added.
She further stated, “It has been the honour of my lifetime to serve as your First Lady. I want to thank the millions of Americans who supported my husband and me over the past 4 years and shown the incredible impact of the American spirit. I am grateful to you all for letting me serve you on platforms which are dear to me.”