After nearly a week of silence on the riots, Melania Trump on Monday condemned a group of her husband’s supporters who stormed the United States Capitol building last Wednesday, saying she was “disappointed and disheartened” by the violence.
“I am disappointed and disheartened with what happened last week,” she said in a 600-word statement released by the White House early Monday morning, adding: “Our Nation must heal in a civil manner. Make no mistake about it, I absolutely condemn the violence that has occurred on our Nation’s Capitol. Violence is never acceptable.”
The deadly riots unfolded on Wednesday after a rally to support President Trump — during which he repeatedly said the election was stolen and urged his followers “to fight.” After the speech, the crowd descended into a mob that stormed the Capitol during the certification of the Electoral College vote. The crowd ransacked the building and forced staff, reporters and lawmakers, including Vice President Mike Pence, to shelter in place in both the House and Senate.
Five, including a U.S. Capitol Police officer, died. Another police officer involved in the Capitol’s defense died while off duty in the days following the attack, officials said.
“I pray for their families comfort and strength during this difficult time,” the first lady said.
House Democrats plan to push ahead with a second impeachment this week if Pence won’t invoke the 25th Amendment, though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, has said a trial in the upper chamber would not begin before President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20. Several Republican lawmakers have indicated they support Trump’s immediate departure, with Sen. Pat Toomey — once a staunch supporter of the president — saying his resignation “as soon as possible” would be best for the country.
The first lady has largely stayed quiet on Trump’s unfounded claims about election fraud, but has echoed his statements on ensuring that every legal vote be counted, and has not publicly acknowledged Biden’s victory.
But in her statement, she said it “has been the honor 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,” she said. “I am grateful to you all for letting me serve you on platforms which are dear to me.”
Melania Trump also criticized the “salacious gossip, unwarranted personal attacks, and false misleading accusations on me – from people who are looking to be relevant and have an agenda,” seemingly referring to a CNN report that cited a source saying she had been overseeing a photoshoot during the riots.
“This time is solely about healing our country and its citizens,” she said. “It should not be used for personal gain.”