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Melania Trump condemns Capitol riots and hits out at 'personal attacks' against her
11 January 2021, 12:03 | Updated: 11 January 2021, 12:31
Melania Trump has condemned last week's Capitol riots while hitting out at "personal attacks" which have been made against her in the wake of the "tragic events."
The First Lady said she was "disappointed and disheartened with what happened last week," and paid tribute to the five people who died during the protests, including Trump supporting Air Force Veteran Ashli Babbit.
Mrs Trump also said it was "shameful that surrounding these tragic events there has been salacious gossip, unwarranted personal attacks, and false misleading accusations on me."
On Wednesday, a violent gang of Mr Trump's supporters overpowered police, broke through security lines and windows and rampaged through the Capitol, forcing lawmakers to scatter as they were finalising President-elect Joe Biden's victory in the Electoral College.
The riots prompted Democrats to attempt to impeach Mr Trump for the second time, with just days remaining before he is to leave office on January 20.
In a statement posted on the White House website, the First Lady wrote: "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.
"As your First Lady, it has been inspiring to witness firsthand what the people of our great Nation will do for one another, especially when we are at our most vulnerable.
"With nearly every experience I have had, I found myself carrying many individual’s stories home with me in my heart.
"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."
Mrs Trump continued: "Our Nation must heal in a civil manner. Make no mistake about it, I absolutely condemn the violence that has occurred on our Nation’s Capitol. Violence is never acceptable.
"As an American, I am proud of our freedom to express our viewpoints without persecution. It is one of the paramount ideals which America is fundamentally built on.
"Many have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect that right. With that in mind, I would like to call on the citizens of this country to take a moment, pause, and look at 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.
"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, find our commonalities, and be the kind and strong people that I know we are.
"Our country’s strength and character have revealed themselves in the communities that have been impacted by natural disasters and throughout this terrible pandemic that has affected all of us.
"The common thread in all of these challenging situations is American’s unwavering resolve to help one another. Your compassion has shown the true spirit of our country.
"As I said over the summer, 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. 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.
"It has been the honor of my lifetime to serve as your First Lady. 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. I am grateful to you all for letting me serve you on platforms which are dear to me.
"Most importantly, I ask for healing, grace, understanding, and peace for our great Nation.
"Every day let us remember that we are one Nation under God. God bless you all and God bless the United States of America."