By EMILY SHAPIRO and BEN GITTLESON, ABC News
(WASHINGTON) — First lady Melania Trump made her first comments on Wednesday’s deadly Capitol siege, calling for national unity yet refusing to take any responsibility for her husband’s role in the riots.
Rather, she cast herself as a victim.
“I am disappointed and disheartened with what happened last week,” she wrote in the statement, posted on the White House website Monday morning. “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,” Trump said.
She did not explain what “gossip” she was referring to.
The first lady expressed her condolences for a Capitol Hill officer who died in the attack, which her husband, President Donald Trump, has not done. Before naming the officer — and another Capitol Hill officer who died over the weekend — she named four Trump supporters who died on Wednesday, including a woman who was shot inside the Capitol building.
“My heart goes out to: Air Force Veteran, Ashli Babbit, Benjamin Philips, Kevin Greeson, Rosanne Boyland, and Capitol Police Officers, Brian Sicknick and Howard Liebengood,” Melania Trump said. “I pray for their families comfort and strength during this difficult time.”
In addition to the deaths of the four Trump supporters, Officer Sicknick was injured while engaging with protesters at the Capitol and died one day later from his injuries, according to Capitol Police. Officer Liebengood, who responded to the rioting, died on Saturday. Capitol Police have not released a cause of death.
Melania Trump did not take any responsibility for her words — or those of the president — in the months leading up to the siege. She had backed her husband’s effort to overturn the election, tweeting support in November.
Melania Trump said she’s “proud of our freedom to express our viewpoints without persecution” but “would like to call on the citizens of this country to take a moment, pause, and look at things from all perspectives.”
“I absolutely condemn the violence that has occurred on our Nation’s Capitol,” she said.
“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. We must listen to one another, focus on what unites us, and rise above what divides us,” she said.
The first lady’s only mention of the election was to say it’s “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. Our path forward is to come together, find our commonalities, and be the kind and strong people that I know we are.”
She ended by asking “for healing, grace, understanding, and peace for our great Nation.”
Democrats are taking steps this week in the House to remove the president, beginning with a call for Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a letter to Democrats on Sunday.
The resolution would call on Pence “to immediately use his powers under section 4 of the 25th Amendment to convene and mobilize the principal officers of the executive departments in the Cabinet to declare what is obvious to a horrified Nation: That the President is unable to successfully discharge the duties and powers of his office.”
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