OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Former First Lady Melania Trump has not been in the limelight much since her husband, former President Donald Trump, left office, but she came out of the shadows this week to clap back at an allegation leveled at her by a former staffer.
In a Fox News interview published Thursday, Trump sought to explain her response to a tweet from her former chief of staff, Stephanie Grisham, on the day of the Capitol riot after Grisham reportedly texted her about making a statement as the riot was taking place.
“Do you want to tweet that peaceful protests are the right of every American, but there is no place for lawlessness & violence?” Grisham, who also served a sting as President Donald Trump’s interim White House press secretary, texted the then-first lady.
“No,” was Melania’s response.
— Stephanie Grisham (@OMGrisham) June 28, 2022
The message contained the letters “MT” within the screenshot.
”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,” Grisham noted in an interview last month with CNN.
JUST NOW: @OMGrisham on Melania Trump declining to tweet a message discouraging violence on January 6.
"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." pic.twitter.com/AHfo2Uibv3
— New Day (@NewDay) June 29, 2022
“Yesterday, hearing Cassidy [Hutchinson]’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.’”
However, Trump told Fox News: “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 U.S. Capitol Building.
“As with all First Ladies who preceded me, it was my obligation to record the contents of the White House’s historic rooms, including taking archival photographs of all the renovations. Several months in advance, I organized a qualified team of photographers, archivists, and designers to work with me in the White House to ensure perfect execution,” she continued.
“As required, we scheduled January 6, 2021, to complete the work on behalf of our Nation,” she said, adding that “this is a very significant undertaking and requires great care, attention to detail, and concentration — both in the planning and execution.”
She also said she has “always been very supportive of my former Chief of Staff, Stephanie Grisham.”
“I stood behind Ms. Grisham after her failed stint as White House Press Secretary and welcomed her back to the East Wing,” Trump said.
The network noted further:
Grisham started her White House tenure in the first lady’s office and later served as White House press secretary following Sarah Sanders’ departure during the summer of 2019. She returned to the East Wing when Kayleigh McEnany was tapped for the role in April 2020.
“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,” Trump said, adding that “traditionally, the First Lady’s Chief of Staff provides detailed briefings surrounding our Nation’s important issues.”
“In fact, Ms. Grisham failed to provide insight and information into the events surrounding January 6 as she had abandoned her post in Washington, D.C.,” she continued. “Shamefully, this behavior has only partially become public knowledge; yet was consistent for Ms. Grisham.”
“It is evident that Grisham’s recent betrayals are a last-ditch attempt to resuscitate her ruined career and reputation,” she said.
Trump then addressed Grisham’s suggestion that she did not want to condemn what was taking place at the Capitol Building on Jan. 6.
“I always condemn violence. Had I been fully informed of all the details, naturally, I would have immediately denounced the violence that occurred at the Capitol Building,” Trump said. “And while Ms. Grisham’s behavior is disappointing, it is not surprising or an isolated incident.”
She added: “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.”