Former first lady Melania Trump says she “would have immediately denounced the violence” during the January 6 riot at the US Capitol, but a top aide committed a “dereliction of duty” and failed to brief her about what was happening soon enough to make a public statement.
“On January 6, 2021, I was fulfilling one of my duties as First Lady of the United States of America, and accordingly, I was unaware of what was simultaneously transpiring at the US Capitol Building,” Ms Trump told Fox News in a lengthy statement.
The first lady said on January 6 she was busy performing the customary duty of historically documenting changes made in the White House with a team of photographers, archivists, and designers.
This contradicts an account from Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s former chief of staff, who claimed last month that the first lady had been informed of the violence, and still declined to condemn it anyway.
Ms Grisham posted a text conversation the two allegedly had on January 6 as proof.
The first lady trashed her former aide on Thursday, saying she had welcomed Ms Grisham back to the White House “after her failed stint as White House Press Secretary.”
“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,” Ms Trump added.
Stephanie Grisham told The Independent she stands by her account of what happened and accused the first lady of lying.
“Everything she said is bulls***, and she knows it,” Ms Grisham said.
The former White House aide said she was compelled to share the text conversation after watching the testimony of Cassidy Hutchinson, another former White House staffer, who gave a damning account to Congress of Donald Trump and his inner circle in the moments surrounding January 6.
“Knowing her 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,” Ms Grisham told CNN in June. “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.’”
According to Ms Grisham, she asked the first lady, “Do you want to tweet that peaceful protests are the right of every American, but there is no place for lawlessness & violence?”
Ms Trump allegedly responded with a simple “no.”