Melania Trump has denounced a personal attack on her in the wake of the riots at the US Capitol. In a statement posted on the White House’s website the first lady crticised "misleading accusations" against her.
"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. This time is solely about healing our country and its citizens. It should not be used for personal gain", she wrote in a statement.
The first lady’s aide refused to speculate on what Melania meant when she wrote about "salacious gossip". However, in recent days Melania has come under attack for not condemning the storming of US Capitol. Her former senior adviser, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, wrote an op-ed in the Daily Beast titled "There is Blood on Her Hands", in which she condemned Melania and the president for violent riots.
"I wish I could say I was shocked by President Trump's actions," Wolkoff wrote, "but sadly I cannot, nor say I don't comprehend Melania's silence and inactions, but pathetically, they are both expected."
In her statement released on Monday, the First Lady did refer to the issue. Asking for calm and an end to violence, Melania urged the public to unite. She also extended condolences to the relations of those who died during the riots and strongly condemned the violence.
"Make no mistake about it, I absolutely condemn the violence that has occurred at our nation’s Capitol. Violence is never acceptable. I implore people to stop the violence, never make assumptions based on the colour of a person’s skin or use differing political ideologies as a basis for aggression and viciousness. We must listen to one another, focus on what unites us, and rise above what divides us”, the first lady wrote.
What Did Happen Last Week?
Thousands of people besieged the US Capitol on 6 January when both houses of Congress convened to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election, which Donald Trump lost to Democrat Joe Biden. However, the Republican insists the vote was rigged with hundreds of thousands of ballots cast illegally for his rival. The president and his supporters filed more than 50 lawsuits in several states citing voter fraud. Most of them have been turned down because of lack of evidence.
Trump refused to concede defeat and at the rally in Washington DC last week he told his supporters to "stop the steal".
"You are the people that built this nation," Trump told the audience. You have to get your people to fight. And if they don't fight, we have to primary the hell out of the ones that don't fight. We primary them - we're going to let you know who they are. I can already tell you, frankly. But this year, using the pretext of the China virus and the scam of mail-in ballots, Democrats attempted the most brazen and outrageous election theft. And there's never been anything like this. It's a pure theft in American history."
After the rally, Trump supporters headed to the Capitol and then a large group forced their way into the building. As a result of the riots, five people – four civilians and a police officer – were killed.