For the first time, first lady Melania Trump on Monday addressed the mob attack on the U.S. Capitol last week, rejecting violence and saying her “heart goes out” to those who died as a result of the clash.
In a lengthy statement, the first lady acknowledged the violence that followed a rally last Wednesday by President Donald Trump near the White House that incited supporters to march to the Capitol, where many vandalized the building and forced their way inside as lawmakers were certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
In a post under the heading “Our Path Forward,” Melania Trump said she’s praying for “comfort and strength” for the families of the dead — which included two Capitol Police officers, a rioter who was shot by police and two others who died from medical emergencies during the attack.
“I am disappointed and disheartened with what happened last week,” she wrote.
“This time is solely about healing our country and its citizens.
“Make no mistake about it, I absolutely condemn the violence that has occurred on our nation’s Capitol. Violence is never acceptable.”
In her remarks, the first lady also condemned criticism that she said she’s received.
“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.
“Our nation must heal in a civil manner.”
She went on to ask Americans to consider things from “all perspectives.”
“I implore people to stop the violence, never make assumptions based on the color of a person’s skin or use differing political ideologies as a basis for aggression and viciousness,” she said. “We must listen to one another, focus on what unites us, and rise above what divides us.
“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 to violence. Our path forward is to come together.”
President Donald Trump on Sunday ordered flags at the White House lowered to half-staff to honor the fallen Capitol Police officers — but was also criticized for waiting for so long to give the order. Flags at the Capitol and other government buildings in Washington, D.C., were lowered on Friday.
More than two dozen domestic terrorism investigations have been opened in connection with the attack, according to the Defense Department and one House lawmaker.
Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., a member of the House armed services committee, said on Sunday that he was told by Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy that dozens of inquiries are underway.
“Long guns, Molotov cocktails, explosive devices, and zip ties were recovered which suggests a greater disaster was narrowly averted,” Crow tweeted in a summary of his conversation with McCarthy.
Crow also said he’s conferred with McCarthy to review security preparations for Biden’s inauguration next week. He said McCarthy is aware of “further possible threats posed by would-be terrorists” in the days “up to and including Inauguration Day” and is working with law enforcement to address them.
Crow is asking McCarthy to review all military personnel who will be a part of the security detail for the inauguration to ensure there will be none who are “sympathetic to domestic terrorists.”
So far, dozens of Trump supporters have been charged with crimes and the FBI has asked for the public’s help in identifying some of those involved. Several who participated, and even promoted their actions on social media, have been fired from their jobs.
The Justice Department said on Sunday that authorities have arrested two men who were pictured at the Capitol wearing tactical and paramilitary gear and holding zip tie restraints known as flex cuffs.
The pair, Larry Rendell Brock of Texas and Eric Gavelek Munchel of Tennessee, were each charged with entering a restricted building without lawful authority and violent entry and disorderly conduct conduct on Capitol grounds.
Copyright 2021 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.
This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.