U.S. First Lady Melania Trump mourned several rioters who died while attacking the U.S. Capitol last week in her first public statement since her husband incited the mob on Jan. 6.
Melania offered her condolences Monday to the families of police officers and Donald Trump supporters who died due to the riot. She also lamented the personal backlash she has faced since the attack, and did not mention how her husband riled up the mob with his false claims about an election he lost.
Melania specifically mourned the President Trump supporters first in her statement, starting with Ashli Babbitt, the QAnon believer who was fatally shot while trying to breach a locked-down area of the Capitol where members of Congress were taking shelter. The first lady highlighted Babbitt’s past as an “Air Force Veteran,” and did not mention how she was trying to participate in the derailment of a democratic election result.
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The first lady also spelled Babbitt’s name wrong in the error-filled statement — her first since her chief of staff, Stephanie Grisham, resigned after last week’s attack.
“My heart goes out to: Air Force Veteran, Ashli Babbit (sic), Benjamin Philips, Kevin Greeson, Rosanne Boyland and Capitol Police Officers, Brian Sicknick and Howard Liebengood,” Trump said in her statement. “I pray for their families (sic) comfort and strength during this difficult time.”
Babbitt had a long social media history of promoting QAnon, the fantastical far-right conspiracy theory that helped fuel the violence on Jan. 6. The hoax imagines Trump as a warrior for God against a deep-state cabal of cannibalistic pedophiles. It also promises a moment of reckoning called “The Storm,” when Trump and his allies will punish their enemies and execute various government officials. Babbitt had tweeted about participating in The Storm before the attack.
Rioter Kevin Greeson, 55, died of a heart attack during the excitement. Benjamin Philips, 50, reportedly died of a stroke. Rosanne Boyland, 34, was a Trump supporter who appeared to have been trampled by the MAGA mob.
Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick died after he was bludgeoned with a fire extinguisher by Trump supporters, The Associated Press reports. Officer Howard Liebengood reportedly died by suicide on Saturday.
In her statement, the first lady went on to complain about the backlash she has faced following the riot, before offering her condemnation of the violence.
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“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,” she wrote.
She then called on the nation to heal, adding: “Make no mistake about it, I absolutely condemn the violence that has occurred on our Nation’s Capitol. Violence is never acceptable.”
She did not mention President Trump’s role in inciting the riot, which happened immediately after he addressed supporters and told them to march on the Capitol.
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