Melania Trump says ‘heart goes out’ to those killed in Capitol riots
US First Lady Melania Trump has released a statement condemning last week’s violence at the US Capitol that killed five, and has called on America to heal as a nation.
It comes after her husband, Donald Trump, the US president, was banned from Twitter after being accused of inciting the mobs that stormed the Capitol as senators certified Joe Biden’s election victory.
In a written statement released on the White House’s official website, Mrs Trump said that she "absolutely condemns" the violent scenes seen last week and that "violence is never acceptable".
"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. "I ask for healing, grace, understanding, and peace for our great Nation."
Mrs Trump also expressed her sympathies for the five individuals killed in the riots, saying she "prays for their families comfort and strength during this difficult time."
Early in the statement, Mrs Trump hit back at her own critics. It is "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 said.
The protesters on Thursday chanted: "Hang Mike Pence!" as they pressed inside, beating police with pipes. They demanded House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s whereabouts, too.
They hunted any and all lawmakers: "Where are they?" Outside, makeshift gallows stood, complete with sturdy wooden steps and the noose. Guns and pipe bombs had been stashed in the vicinity.
Mr Trump initially declined to criticise the mobs, calling them "very special" in a video, before making a U-turn and condemning the violence.