Melania Trump allegedly refused an opportunity to denounce rioting outside the US Capitol before it was assaulted by a mob on 6 January, a new book claims.
Stephanie Grisham, who was Chief of Staff for Ms Trump and a former White House press secretary, reportedly writes in an upcoming book that she asked the wife of former US president Donald Trump if she wanted to denounce rioting unfolding around the Capitol, but was told: “No.”
A “Stop the Steal” rally headlined by Mr Trump that day culminated in the assault on the Capitol, in which five people were killed and hundreds more were injured — many of whom wrongly thought the 2020 election had been “stolen” or “rigged”.
According to Politico, which received an extract from Ms Grisham’s book titled I’ll Take Your Questions Now: What I Saw in the Trump White House, Ms Trump had been at the White House “preparing for a photoshoot for a rug she had selected” on the day of the Capitol riot.
Ms Trump was allegedly asked if she wanted to “tweet that peaceful protests are the right of every American, but there is no place for lawlessness and violence”, and replied: “No”.
Within an hour of Ms Grisham’s text, which she says was sent at 1.25pm, the Capitol building had been breached by a mob, which according to New York Times analysis, occurred at roughly 2.11pm — forcing members of Congress to shelter and suspend a special joint session to confirm Joe Biden as president.
Mr Trump would tweet at 2.24pm that Mike Pence, his vice president, “didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our country and our constitution”, after he refused the former president’s request’s to challenge the results of the 2020 election, and Mr Biden’s win.
Critics of Mr Trump would argue that his tweet encouraged rioters to go further in the attack on the Capitol.
Ms Trump’s office told Politico in a statement that “The intent behind this book is obvious. It is an attempt to redeem herself after a poor performance as press secretary, failed personal relationships, and unprofessional behaviour in the White House.”
“Through mistruth and betrayal, she seeks to gain relevance and money at the expense of Mrs Trump,” the statement added, in an apparent reference to Ms Grisham’s former relationship with Max Miller, a former Trump aide, it was reported.
The Independent has approached Ms Trump’s office for comment.