A former White House aide has shared a text message allegedly sent by Donald Trump’s wife Melania Trump in which she refused to call on rioters at the US Capitol to stop all violence.
Stephanie Grisham, a longtime Trump loyalist who served as the former president’s press secretary and as Mrs Trump’s chief of staff, resigned within hours of the text exchange on January 6, 2021, when a crowd of Trump supporters stormed the seat of Congress to reverse his election defeat.
“Do you want to tweet that peaceful protests are the right of every American, but there is no place for lawlessness and violence?” Ms Grisham allegedly asked the First Lady.
“No,” came the reply.
Ms Grisham previously described the message in her memoir I’ll Take Your Questions Now last year, but has not shared the text itself.
At the time, Mrs Trump said: “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 behavior in the White House. Through mistruth and betrayal, she seeks to gain relevance and money at the expense of Mrs. Trump.”
Mrs. Trump’s office has been asked for comment.
Ms Grisham’s disclosure comes as the congressional committe investigating the Capitol attack broadcasts live testimony from former Trump staff making damning claims about the former president’s role in the riot.
Thousands of supporters, including organized militias such as the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers, were fired up by Mr Trump at a rally and then stormed the Capitol building where the Senate was formally ratifying Mr Trump’s defeat by Mr Biden.
On Tuesday, Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to Mr Trump’s chief of staff Mark Meadows, told the committee that another staffer had seen Mr Trump try to grab the steering wheel of his presidential limousine and even attacked a Secret Service agent when told that he was not being taken to the Capitol.
“I’m the f***ing president! Take me up to the Capitol now,” Mr Trump allegedly screamed.
She also testified that she overheard Mr Trump at the rally saying something to the effect of: ”I don’t f***ing care that they have weapons. They’re not here to hurt me. Take the f***ing [metal detectors] away.”