First lady Melania Trump on Monday ended her silence and condemned the violence that took place at the U.S. Capitol last week, calling on the American people to “remember that we are one nation under God.”
Trump, 50, released a statement through the White House expressing how "disappointed and disheartened" she was by what took place last week in the nation's capital and called on Americans to "listen to one another, focus on what unites us, and rise above what divides us."
Last Wednesday, countless supporters of the president broke past Capitol Police barricades and stormed inside the Capitol and disrupted the counting of the electoral votes, a process needed to confirm the results of the 2020 presidential election won by Democrat Joe Biden.
The riot led to the death of five, including one police officer.
Her statement reflected on the difficulties experienced by the American people over the last year and she extended condolences to those who lost their lives in the Capitol attack: Ashli Babbitt, Benjamin Philips, Kevin Greeson, Roseanne Boyland and Capitol Police Officers Brian Sicknick and Howard Liebengood (suicide).
However, she also pushed back against negative narratives surrounding her that have been birthed in the aftermath of the riot but did not elaborate on the specifics of those claims.
“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 stressed. "This time is solely about healing our country and its citizens. It should not be used for personal gain.”
Trump assured that she "absolutely" condemns the violence and said it is "never acceptable."
“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 into violence," she warned. "Our path forward is to come together, find our commonalities, and be the kind and strong people that I know we are."
She called on Americans to "stop the violence"," never make assumptions based on the color of a person's skin" and never "use differing political ideologies as a basis for aggression and viciousness."
After asking for “healing, grace, understanding, and peace for our Great nation,” Trump urged the American people to “remember that we are one Nation under God.”
Nearly a week after the Capitol storming by Trump supporters, the fallout continues.
Members of the president’s cabinet, including Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, submitted their resignations after arguing that the rhetoric used by Trump had an impact in inciting violence at the Capitol.
Additionally, Democrats in Congress as well as some Republicans have come out in support of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office with less than two weeks to go in his term.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said that if Vice President Mike Pence and the remaining members of the cabinet did not decide to remove Trump from office using the 25th Amendment, Congress would move forward with articles of impeachment.
While the First Lady did not explicitly address her husband’s removal from major social media platforms in her statement, she did describe the “freedom to express our viewpoints without persecution” as “one of the paramount ideals which America is fundamentally built on." She added that “many have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect that right.”
The first lady used her letter as a platform to reflect on her experience over the last four years. Trump's time in the White House is slated to come to a close on Jan. 20 as Biden is scheduled to be sworn in.
“It has been the honor of my lifetime to serve as your First Lady," she wrote. "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 praised the country’s “strength and character" and believes it is exemplified by the American people’s “unwavering resolve to help one another” in times of natural disaster and throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Trump, “it is these defining moments that we will look back and tell our grandchildren that through empathy, strength, and determination, we were able to restore the promise of our future.”
“Each of you are the backbone of this country," she said. "You are the people who continue to make the United States of America what it is, and who have the incredible responsibility of preparing our future generations to leave everything better than they found it.”