Melania Trump has condemned last week’s Capitol riot by the US president’s supporters, in her first remarks since the incident.
The first lady, who was accused of remaining silent on the riots by a former adviser, said on Monday that “salacious gossip” about her was “shameful”, and that she had “implore(d)” for the chaos to end.
“I am disappointed and disheartened with what happened last week,” said Melania in a statement, in which she appeared to admit that her time at the White House would end.
“I find it shameful that surrounding these tragic events there has been salacious gossip, unwarranted personal attacks, and false misleading accusations on me,” said Melania.
Calling-out “people who are looking to be relevant and have an agenda”, she added: “This time is solely about healing our country and its citizens. It should not be used for personal gain.”
It comes after Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former adviser to the first lady, wrote in an opinion article that she was “ashamed” to have worked with her after the attack on Congress, in which five people died.
“I wish I could say I was shocked by President Trump’s actions, but sadly I can not, or say I don’t comprehend Melania’s silence and inactions, but pathetically, they are both expected,” Ms Wolkoff wrote.
The former aide went as far as saying that Melania, who at times has remained silent on controversies surrounding her husband, had been an “enabler” throughout his presidency.
The opinion article followed the resignation of the first lady’s chief of staff, Stephanie Grisham, after last week’s assault.
In her statement, the first lady expressed her condolences for those who died, including Ashli Babbitt, who was later revealed to be a QAnon conspiracy theorist who wrongly alleged a “deep state” was working against Trump.
Babbitt, as with thousands of others who Trump told to march on Congress with “strength” as they worked to confirm Joe Biden’s election win, believed false claims the 2020 election was “stolen”. She was shot by Capitol police after storming Congress.
Melania went on to say: “It has been the honour of my lifetime to serve as your First Lady,” in what appeared to be her first remarks acknowledging her husband’s election defeat.
“I want to thank the millions of Americans who supported my husband and me over the past four years and shown the incredible impact of the American spirit. I am grateful to you all for letting me serve you on platforms that are dear to me.”
“Most importantly, I ask for healing, grace, understanding, and peace for our great Nation,” she added