Melania Trump condemns violence on Capitol Hill, then denounces “shameful” and “salacious” gossip about it

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Top line

In his first comments On the violent pro-Trump riots that rocked the Capitol and left five dead last Wednesday, First Lady Melania Trump condemned the violence encouraged by her husband but did not acknowledge who had instigated it, instead attacking to critics who apparently took advantage of the chaos to spread “salacious gossip, unjustified personal attacks and deceptive false accusations” about him after the critics ridiculed the first lady’s inaction in the face of the riots and said she was would have photograph rugs in the White House as terrorists invaded the Capitol.

Highlights

In a blog post on the White House website, Trump said she was “disappointed and disheartened by what happened last week” and prayed for the families of the six who lost their lives, including US Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood who deceased by suicide on Saturday.

“Make no mistake, I absolutely condemn the violence that has taken place on our nation’s Capitol,” Trump said, adding that “violence is never acceptable.”

Trump also took the opportunity to tear up his critics, saying she finds “it is shameful that around these tragic events there has been salacious gossip, unjustified personal attacks and false misleading accusations against me” .

Striking a tone similar to previous Denunciations against his detractors, Trump described them as “people who seek to be relevant and have an agenda.”

The first lady’s statement echoed that of the president reply to his potential indictment for his role in fomenting violence, saying that “this time it is only about healing our country and its citizens” who “should not be used for personal gain”.

Trump urged people to come together and “never make assumptions based on a person’s skin color or use different political ideologies as the basis for aggression and wickedness,” adding that “we have to listen to each other, focus on what unites us, and rise above what divides us.

Crucial quote

“It is inspiring to see that so many people have found passion and enthusiasm in participating in an election,” said the first lady, adding that “we must not allow this passion to turn into violence”.

Key context

Melania Trump had been silent since a mob of pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol last week in an attempt to disrupt the Electoral College’s certification of votes officially declaring Joe Biden president-elect, a process overseen by the Vice President Mike Pence. Donald Trump brazenly encouraged a crowd of his supporters to march on Capitol Hill and remained visibly silent as they ripped through the compound. Subsequent statements by the president have offered lukewarm denunciations of the violence, focusing instead on baseless allegations of electoral fraud and conspiracy. For his role in inciting violence, the president has been almost universally denounced and risks being removed from office via Accused or the 25th amendment. After years of pressure, social media companies have finally de-platformed the president, with Twitter prohibition him permanently on Friday after concluding that there was a real risk that the president would continue to incite violence by using the platform.

Further reading

First Lady Melania Trump: Our Way Forward (White House)

Melania Trump and Trump’s grown children avoid the spotlight after one of nation’s darkest days (CNN)

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