Former first lady Melania Trump insisted Thursday she “would have immediately denounced” last year’s Capitol riot if she had known it was occurring at the time.
The wife of former President Donald Trump claimed to Fox News that on Jan. 6, 2021, she was helping to document architectural and decorative changes she’d made at the White House during her four years in residence.
“Accordingly, I was unaware of what was simultaneously transpiring at the US Capitol Building,” Melania Trump told the outlet.
The former first lady spoke out as the House select committee investigating that day’s violence readied a primetime hearing, which lawmakers promised would expose the 45th president’s actions as his supporters rampaged through the halls of Congress.
In the same interview, Melania Trump slammed her former press secretary and chief of staff Stephanie Grisham, who claimed the then-first lady had refused to make a statement condemning the riot.
Last month, Grisham shared a screenshot of an alleged exchange with Melania Trump in which she asked: “Do you want to tweet that peaceful protests are the right of every American, but there is no place for lawlessness & violence?”
The reply, from a contact known as “MT,” consisted of one word: “No.”
Melania Trump accused Grisham Thursday of making “a last-ditch attempt to resuscitate her ruined career and reputation.”
“Ms. Grisham was not in the White House on January 6, and her behavior in her role as chief of staff ultimately amounts to dereliction of duty,” the former first lady claimed, later adding that her subordinate “failed to provide insight and information into the events surrounding January 6 as she had abandoned her post in Washington, DC.
“Shamefully, this behavior has only partially become public knowledge; yet was consistent for Ms. Grisham,” Melania Trump went on.
Grisham tweeted the screenshotted exchange a day after former White House aide Cassidy Hutchinson testified before the Jan. 6 committee and made several bombshell claims, including that Trump had attempted to overpower his Secret Service detail and drive himself to the Capitol.
“Knowing her [Melania] as well as I did at that point, it was so unlike her to not have condemned it, that that was the moment it all kind of broke me,” Grisham told CNN’s “New Day” June 29. “Yesterday, hearing Cassidy’s testimony, I felt compelled to show that text because it was a lot of context I thought, and again, knowing Melania like I did, I was so disappointed and discouraged and sickened that she wouldn’t stand up and just say simply, ‘There should be no violence.’”
“I always condemn violence,” Melania Trump shot back Thursday.
“Had I been fully informed of all the details, naturally, I would have immediately denounced the violence that occurred at the Capitol Building,” she told Fox News. “And while Ms. Grisham’s behavior is disappointing, it is not surprising or an isolated incident.
“This is not the first time a former staffer has tried to maintain relevancy and profit by using my name to create a false narrative.”