First Lady Melania Trump says she is “disappointed and disheartened” by deadly US Capitol riot


First Lady Melania Trump participates in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Walk at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, December 8, 2020.

Patrick Semansky / L’Associated Press

Melania Trump said on Monday she was “disappointed and disheartened” by the deadly riot on Capitol Hill last week by supporters of her husband. But breaking her silence, she also criticized those who she said took advantage of the tragic event to spread “salacious gossip, unjustified personal attacks and false and misleading accusations about me.”

The statement marked the first public comment from the first lady in five days since a violent mob of Trump supporters, angry at Trump’s electoral loss and excited by the president himself, stormed the Capitol Hill on Wednesday and temporarily disrupted proceedings certifying Democrat Joe Biden will be the next president on January 20.

“I am disappointed and disheartened by what happened last week,” she wrote in a White House blog post published before sunrise. “I find it shameful that around these tragic events there has been salacious gossip, unwarranted personal attacks and deceptive false accusations against me – from people who seek to be relevant and who have an agenda.”

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The first lady did not say who she was referring to. Last week, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, the first lady’s former friend and White House assistant, wrote an op-ed accusing Ms Trump of being “an accomplice in the destruction of America.”

Their friendship ended bitterly after Wolkoff, who had worked on organizing festivities for Trump’s inauguration in 2017, said the first lady failed to defend her after questions arose about inaugural spending, which is now the subject of federal and congressional inquiries.

In Monday’s post, the first lady said: “This time it’s all about healing our country and its citizens. It should not be used for personal purposes. “

“Our nation must heal in a civilian way,” she wrote. “Make no mistake, I absolutely condemn the violence that has taken place on our nation’s Capitol. Violence is never acceptable. “

She also urged people to stop the violence, not to judge people by the color of their skin or to “use different political ideologies as the basis for aggression and wickedness.” She did not comment on her husband or his role in encouraging his supporters to come to Capitol Hill.

The president spent the weeks after losing the presidential contest in November spreading baseless claims that the ballot was tainted with massive fraud and that the election was stolen from him. Many state and federal officials, including former US attorney general William Barr, said there was no evidence of fraud on a massive enough scale 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 speaking at a rally near the White House in which he encouraged his supporters to continue fighting, they stormed the Capitol.

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Five people, including a Capitol police officer, have died.

A second Republican U.S. senator on Sunday called on President Donald Trump to step down, saying the Republican president could face criminal liability after his supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. Reuters

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