First Lady Melania Trump releases farewell message
The first lady and her husband, Donald Trump, will leave the White House when his term ends on Wednesday.
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will leave the White House on Wednesday [File: Evan Vucci/The Associated Press]
18 Jan 2021
First Lady Melania Trump, in a video, has given a “farewell message” to the United States, two days before the end of the term of President Donald Trump, her husband.
“My fellow Americans, it has been the greatest honour of my life to serve as first lady of the United States,” said Trump in the video released Monday on Twitter, a site from which her husband has been banned indefinitely.
“I have been inspired by incredible Americans across our country,” she said.
Trump thanked military and law enforcement members, but did not directly address the January 6 breach of the US Capitol by rioters spurred on by her husband’s repeated claims that the election had been “stolen”.
The incident left five dead, including a Capitol police officer. Thousands of National Guard have since been deployed to Washington, DC and state capitals around the country amid the threat of further violence surrounding President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Trump had previously said she was “disappointed and disheartened” by the violence, while also decrying “salacious gossip, unwarranted personal attacks and false and misleading accusations about me”.
In the video released on Monday, Trump urged US citizens to “be passionate in everything you do, and always remember that violence is never the answer and will never be justified”.
Trump addressed the surging coronavirus pandemic in the US, where more than 24 million COVID-19 infections and more than 398,000 deaths have been confirmed, the highest in both metrics of any country in the world.
Donald Trump has been criticised for allegedly playing down the threat of the virus as it first arrived in the US.
“I thank all of the nurses, doctors, healthcare professionals, manufacturing workers, truck drivers, and so many others who are working to save lives,” she said. “I grieve for the families who have lost a loved one due to the pandemic. Every life is precious.”
Melania Trump was criticised for wearing a jacket that said ‘I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?’ after visiting a children’s immigration detention centre in McAllen, Texas in 2018 [File: Andrew Harnik/The Associated Press]
The first lady also touted her “Be Best” initiative, which focuses on issues affecting children, primarily wellness, online safety and opioid abuse.
“The promise of this nation belongs to all of us,” Trump added in her farewell. “Do not lose sight of your integrity and values. There’s every opportunity to show consideration for another person, and build good habits into our daily lives in all circumstances.”
Trump, who is the president’s third wife and mother of his youngest son, Barron, is reportedly set to become the first modern first lady not to welcome the incoming first lady – Jill Biden – for a tour of the private living quarters in the White House.
The snub is part of larger refusal by Donald Trump to attend Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday.
The outgoing president is instead set to give a farewell address at 8am local time (13:00 GMT) on Wednesday before a sendoff ceremony on Joint Base Andrews outside Washington, DC.
He will then head to Florida. The first lady has not made her post-White House plans known.