First lady Melania Trump has released a statement condemning the riot at the U.S. Capitol and imploring people "to stop the violence" and "rise above what divides us."
Trump released a lengthy statement Monday titled "Our Path Forward" in her first comments since pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol building on Jan. 6.
"I am disappointed and disheartened with what happened last week," she wrote. "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."
President Donald Trump's initial comments online about the attack, including a video in which he continued to push conspiracy theories about the election and told supporters he loved them, were removed on Jan. 6 from Twitter and Facebook, with both platforms citing a violation of policies for inciting violence. He released a video online a day later calling the riot at the Capitol a "heinous attack" and said he was "outraged by the violence, lawlessness and mayhem."
The first lady also said she is praying for the families of Ashli Babbitt, Benjamin Philips, Kevin Greeson and Rosanne Boyland, a group of pro-Trump rioters who died at the scene, as well as Capitol Police officers Brian Sicknick, who died from his injuries, and Howard Liebengood, who was part of the response and died off-duty on Saturday.
"Our Nation must heal in a civil manner," she wrote. "Make no mistake about it, I absolutely condemn the violence that has occurred on our Nation’s Capitol. Violence is never acceptable."
The violent mob storming the Capitol came shortly after a nearby rally in which President Trump repeated his baseless claims that the election won by President-elect Joe Biden had been stolen from him. He also urged the crowd to "fight like hell."
"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," Melania Trump wrote. "Our path forward is to come together, find our commonalities, and be the kind and strong people that I know we are."
She called for a fractured nation to peacefully come together.
"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 wrote. "We must listen to one another, focus on what unites us, and rise above what divides us."
She concluded by asking for "healing, grace, understanding, and peace for our great Nation."