The first lady is finally breaking her silence five days after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in an apparent attempt to interrupt lawmakers certifying President-elect Joe Biden's win. On Monday, Jan. 11, Melania Trump released an official statement titled "Our Path Forward" in which she reflected on the events that rocked the nation. Surprisingly, Melania Trump's response to the Capitol riot didn't mention her husband's role in inciting it, and instead went in on the "unwarranted personal attacks" she'd experienced in the aftermath. Elite Daily reached out to the White House for further comment on the statement, as well as on President Trump's role in instigating the riot, but did not hear back at the time of publication.
Trump's belated statement, which came after the Jan. 6 resignations of many White House staffers, including the East Wing's chief of staff Stephanie Grisham and White House social secretary Anna Cristina Niceta in light of the riot, began with a reflection on the past year and the "invisible enemy" COVID-19 before addressing the attack on the Capitol.
Trump acknowledged those who had died during the attack in her first mention of the Jan. 6 riot, conspicuously choosing to name Trump supporters who'd been killed while attempting to storm the Capitol before two fallen Capitol Police officers.
"Most recently, my heart goes out to: Air Force Veteran, Ashli Babbitt, Benjamin Philips, Kevin Greeson, Rosanne Boyland, and Capitol Police Officers, Brian Sicknick and Howard Liebengood," she wrote. "I pray for their families comfort and strength during this difficult time." Elite Daily reached out to the White House for comment on this mention in the statement, but did not hear back at the time of publication.
Trump then delved into the attempted siege, choosing to condemn unknown gossip about herself and cast herself as a victim before speaking out against the violence that had occurred.
"I am disappointed and disheartened with what happened last week. 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," she wrote, although she did not elaborate on the comments that had been made about her. The White House did not respond to request for comment regarding the aforementioned "attacks" against the first lady.
"This time is solely about healing our country and its citizens. It should not be used for personal gain," she continued. "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."
Twitter was quick to respond to Trump's statement, with many criticizing her for casting herself as the victim.
Notably, Trump's statement failed to comment on widespread criticism that President Trump — who'd held a rally for his supporters earlier on Jan. 6 before they laid siege to the Capitol — had incited violence by telling supporters, "We will never concede," amidst months of peddling baseless claims of voter fraud, before encouraging supporters to march to the Capitol. The White House did not previously reply to Elite Daily's request for comment regarding Trump's role in instigating the violence. Instead, the first lady called on people to "take a moment, pause, and look at things from all perspectives."
While Trump previously appeared to support President Trump's baseless claims of voter fraud (there has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud), she tiptoed around President Trump's favorite talking point in her statement. "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," she wrote.
The first lady's praise for supporters' "passion and enthusiasm" wasn't as effusive as the president telling Capitol rioters, "We love you," in a Jan. 6 video, before his Twitter account was permanently banned, but she seems to be on the same page as her husband. One day after the riot, on Jan. 7, in what effectively served as his concession speech, President Trump said, "To those who engaged in acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country. And to those who broke the law, you will pay," but he closed with a message to supporters: "To all of my wonderful supporters, I know you are disappointed, but I want you to know that our incredible journey is only just beginning."
Although Trump called for a "seamless transition of power" in his Jan. 7 speech, the path forward for the president and the first lady will not include participating in person in that peaceful transition of power. Prior to his lifetime ban from Twitter, President Trump announced he would not be attending President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20.