United States first lady Melania Trump made her first comments about Trump supporters’ storming of the US Congress last week, saying she was “disappointed and disheartened”.
While saying her heart went out to those who died, she also used the opportunity to criticise people who she said had used the tragic event to spread “salacious gossip” about her.
What did she say?
Her statement marked the first lady’s first public comment in the five days since a violent mob of supporters of Donald Trump stormed the Capitol on Wednesday.
The crowd, angry over the President’s election loss and stirred up by Mr Trump himself, temporarily disrupted proceedings certifying that Democrat Joe Biden would be the US president come January 20.
“I am disappointed and disheartened with what happened last week,” she wrote in a White House blog post.
“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.
“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.”
Mrs Trump also urged people to stop the violence, and 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.
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How it happened: Trump supporters storm the Capitol Building.
The President has spent the weeks since losing the November 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.
Mr Trump encouraged his supporters to flock to Washington last Wednesday, the day set for Congress to certify the presidential vote.
After Mr Trump addressed a rally near the White House in which he encouraged his supporters to keep fighting, a mob stormed the Capitol.
Five people, including a Capitol police officer, died.
Read more about the fallout from the US election:
Who is she talking about when it comes to ‘salacious gossip’?
The first lady did not say to whom she was referring.
But last week a former friend and one-time assistant at the White House, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, wrote an editorial in the Daily Beast titled ‘There’s Blood On Her Hands‘ and went on to accuse Mrs Trump of being “complicit in the destruction of America”.
“Everyone around [the Trumps] has stoked and massaged their egos and wittingly agreed to the falsehoods and poisonous lies, veiled as truths, that built this house of mirrors,” Ms Wolkoff wrote.
Melania’s journey to first lady
From a small white house in Slovenia to the big one in DC, those around Melania say she was always ambitious and drawn to bigger things.
“I wish I could say I was shocked by President Trump’s actions, but sadly I cannot, or say I don’t comprehend Melania’s silence and inactions, but pathetically, they are both expected.
“At their core they are Machiavellian. Win at all costs. And make it look pretty. Melania knows exactly what is going on.”
The friendship between Mrs Trump and Ms Wolkoff ended bitterly.
The latter woman, who had worked on arranging festivities for Mr 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.
Ms Wolkoff released a tell-all book about her friendship with the first lady.
The book claims Melania Trump wore the green jacket with the phrase “I Really Don’t Care. Do U?” so her visit to the border would get media coverage.(Reuters: Kevin Lamarque)
It detailed Mrs Trump’s response to the infamous Access Hollywood tape that threatened to derail her husband’s 2016 election campaign, and discusses the controversial ‘I really don’t care, do u?’ jacket worn by the first lady to visit children living in detention.
In response, Mrs Trump called the revelations “delusional and malicious gossip”.
Posted 7hhours agoTueTuesday 12 JanJanuary 2021 at 2:09am, updated 6hhours agoTueTuesday 12 JanJanuary 2021 at 3:45am