Five days after armed insurrectionists attempted a coup at the U.S. Capitol, First Lady and noted Christmas-tree enthusiast Melania Trump finally issued an official statement. The press release was very on-brand for the First Lady, in that it 1) cast herself as the real victim; 2) demonstrated a wholesale refusal to contextualize the events at the Capitol; and laughably, 3) contained recycled language. In essence, FLOTUS’ “Our Path Forward” was actually a road directly back to her unforgettable “I Really Don’t Care Do U?” fashion choice.
Ms. Trump began her statement without direct reference to the events of Jan. 6. Instead, she generalized about the pandemic:
“Like all of you, I have reflected on the past year and how the invisible enemy, Covid-19, swept across our beautiful country. All Nations have experienced the loss of loved ones, economic pain, and the negative impacts of isolation.”
I mean sure, COVID-19 is a big deal, but I’d really have thought an armed mob climbing the walls of the Capitol building in an effort to retain her husband as an illegitimate president might have gotten top billing.
Melania got around to an oblique mention of the riots a few paragraphs later, when she elaborated on stories that she has been “carrying…home in [her] heart.” And here’s the money part:
“Most recently, 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.
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.”
Let’s see, where to start? The First Lady began by mourning the deaths of Trump supporters who died on Jan. 6, the first of whom was shot and killed by Capitol Police while she was storming the Capitol. Next, FLOTUS mentioned Officer Sicknick, who was killed in the line of duty, and Officer Liebengood, who died by suicide on Saturday. Expressing public condolences for the mob in the same sentence as police officers? Interesting choice from the spouse of the so-called “law and order” president.
Then, there’s her take on the event itself. She’s “disappointed and disheartened,” as if an attack on the Capitol ranked with accidentally deleting the DVR recording of the latest episode of The Bachelor. But then, perhaps she hadn’t even been talking about the Capitol riots. Given the next lines, “what happened last week,” in Melania’s life might have been quite different from what happened with the rest of us.
In FLOTUS’s world, the big news was that “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.” In a page taken directly from her husband’s book, Mrs. Trump is the true victim in all of this. People have lied on her, and this is the injustice against which we must rally on “Our Path Forward.”
In all fairness to the First Lady, she may be handling a lot on her own right now. Several staffers, including her Chief of Staff Stephanie Grisham, and Social Secretary Anna Cristina Niceta, jumped ship immediately after the riots.
Working with a skeleton crew, who could really blame FLOTUS for recycling parts of her RNC speech in her statement on the Capitol riots?
— Kate Bennett (@KateBennett_DC) January 11, 2021
We’ve heard Melania’s call to “look at things from all perspectives,” and praise for citizens’ “unwavering resolve to help one another” before. Of course, public figures always recycle messaging and language; still, the Capitol riots were nothing if not unprecedented. If any situation called for some fresh reaction, this was it.
After the paltry, “I absolutely condemn the violence that has occurred on our Nation’s Capitol. Violence is never acceptable,” Mrs. Trump called on citizens to, “take a moment, pause, and look at things from all perspectives.” She concluded by saying “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.”
In other defining-moment news, it was widely reported that during the Capitol riots, Mrs. Trump declined to intercede and urge her husband to publicly denounce the insurrection. Instead, the First Lady continued arranging a porcelain vase for a photoshoot being conducted for a new coffee table book about presidential artifacts.
[image via Al Drago/Getty Images]
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.