2021-01-11 17:05:56 UTC
Melania finally condemns Capitol riot but lashes out at 'salacious gossip and
unwarranted personal attacks on me' amid claims she held a photo shoot as
*Melania Trump broke her silence on the violent mob attack in a 600-word essay
*She called for 'healing' and said she 'absolutely condemns' the Capitol
*But she criticized 'false misleading accusations' after the photoshoot claims
*She was in the East Wing of the White House overseeing a photoshoot for a new
coffee table book about presidential artifacts, a source told Mail on Sunday
*Meghan McCain, the daughter of the late senator John McCain and a frequent
critic of the president, blasted Melania for playing the 'victim'
*The first lady has largely stayed under the radar since the general election
Melania Trump on Monday broke her silence on last week's mob attack on the
Capitol, saying she 'absolutely condemns the violence' incited by her husband
and calling for 'healing' as the couple prepares to leave office.
Five days after the attacked that resulted in five deaths, the first lady
published a statement that acknowledged the deaths of her husband's supporters
before the deaths of two Capitol Police officers - and lashed out extensively at
'gossip' about her.
'My heart goes out to: Air Force Veteran, Ashli Babbit, Benjamin Philips, Kevin
Greeson, Rosanne Boyland, and Capitol Police Officers, Brian Sicknick and Howard
Liebengood. I pray for their families comfort and strength during this difficult
time,' she wrote.
But in her 600-word essay published by the White House, she quickly turned the
situation to herself, slamming the 'salacious gossip, unwarranted personal
attacks, and false misleading accusations on me' - a reference to reports she
was conducting a photo shoot in the White House during the MAGA mob scene.
'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,' she wrote in the message entitled Our Path Forward.
The essay is filled with spelling errors (Babbit's name was spelled wrong - it's
Babbitt) and grammar mistakes.
It also cast no blame for Wednesday's riot on her husband, who, at a rally
earlier that day had encouraged his supporters to march on Capitol Hill.
Meghan McCain, the daughter of the late senator John McCain and a frequent
critic of the president, blasted Melania Trump for her statement.
'Five people died in a domestic terror attack on our own republic last week
incited by her husband but Melania Trump is the victim in this?! Every morning I
think I cant get more disgusted....,' Meghan McCain tweeted.
While Melania has largely stayed quiet during Donald Trump's attempts to
illegally reverse the election results, she has echoed the president's
misleading language of 'counting legal votes' and has not publicly acknowledged
Joe Biden's victory.
But she wrote in her latest message that 'it has been the honor of my lifetime
to serve as your first lady', a tacit acknowledgement that her term is nearly
Biden takes the oath of office on January 20th.
It's unclear what's in store for Melania Trump after life in the White House.
She has been reportedly looking at schools for son Barron in Florida but has
made no indication she plans to keep up her 'Be Best' campaign or her work with
the military once her husband leaves office.
The first lady has been spending her final days in the White House behind closed
doors. She and her husband have rarely been seen since their return from Florida
on December 31st, where they were spending the holidays at Mar-a-Lago.
Melania's message was published early on Monday morning, three days after the
president was permanently banned from Twitter - with Trump not showing his face
since promising an orderly transition in a video message on Thursday.
And while Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump had appeared at a campaign rally
Wednesday morning where the president whipped his supporters into a frenzy
shortly before they besieged the Capitol, the first lady stayed out of sight
during the day of chaos.
Two of her staff quit in protest of the president's handling of the riots: her
chief of Staff Stephanie Grisham and social secretary Anna Cristina 'Rickie'
As a White House source told The Mail on Sunday that during Wednesday's siege of
the Capitol, the first lady was in the East Wing of the White House overseeing a
photoshoot for a new coffee table book about presidential artifacts.
'The heart of US government was under siege, our very democracy on the line, but
Mrs Trump was calmly arranging porcelain figurines for the photographer,' the
source said, saying even the most loyal remaining Trump staffers were left
'dumbfounded' by her actions.
Aides even asked Melania to intercede on Wednesday, to force her husband to
publicly decry the insurgency, but she refused.
'She said nothing. She remained silent and carried on arranging a vase for the
shoot. She checked out of this presidency and her marriage a long time ago.'
Additionally, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who worked in the East Wing in the
early days of the administration and then wrote a memoir of her time there that
painted Melania in an unflattering light, wrote in The Daily Beast over the
weekend that she is 'ashamed' to have ever worked for the first lady.
I cant believe how blind I was to the depth of her deception and lack of
common decency, Wolkoff wrote.
Without mentioning those claims directly in her statement on Monday, Melania
condemned what she said were 'false misleading accusations on me' from 'people
who are looking to be relevant and have an agenda'.
The first lady said she was praying for the families of the four protesters and
two Capitol Police officers who died in the hours and days after the attack.
She added that 'our nation must heal in a civil manner', after President Trump
initially praised the mob as 'very special' but later condemned the violence.
'Make no mistake about it, I absolutely condemn the violence that has occurred
on our Nation's Capitol. Violence is never acceptable,' she wrote.