First lady Melania Trump used a statement condemning last week’s storming of the U.S. Capitol to criticized what she called “personal attacks” and “salacious gossip” about her and never alluded to her husband’s role in inciting the mob.
In a lengthy statement titled “Our Path Forward” posted Monday morning to the official White House website, Melania denounced violence and urged Americans to “rise above what divides us.”
The first lady said her “heart goes out to” the people who died at or after the riot: Ashli Babbitt, Benjamin Philips, Kevin Greeson, Rosanne Boyland and Capitol Police officers Brian Sicknick and Howard Liebengood.
She said she prayed for their families’ “comfort and strength during this difficult time,” she said.
The first lady criticized “personal attacks” on her related to the riot by supporters of her husband. She did not get into specifics, though CNN reported over the weekend that the first lady had been overseeing a photo shoot at the White House while rioters stormed the Capitol.
“I am disappointed and disheartened with what happened last week,” Melania Trump said. “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.”
Monday marks the first time the first lady spoke about the riots, nearly 5 days after the attack.
Her chief of staff, Stephanie Grisham, resigned Wednesday. CNN reported that Grisham’s departure was “in large part” because of Wednesday’s events.