To call the four years of Donald Trump's presidency controversial would be an understatement. While the world of politics has always been filled with shady, underhanded tactics and personal attacks on people's characters, the events leading up to Trump's presidency and his time in office have seemed to shift the U.S. political landscape even further into extremist territory.
Several days after the violent protests from Trump supporters at the Capitol building, First Lady Melania Trump released a letter condemning the violence.
In the letter, Melania Trump condemned the violence at the Capitol riots.
She also condemned racism and asked for Americans to unite: "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."
Speaking specifically about the riots, Melania Trump listed six separate people involved with the Capitol Building riots who died: "Most recently, my heart goes out to: Air Force Veteran, Ashli Babbitt, Benjamin Philips, Kevin Greeson, Roseanne Boyland, and Capitol Police Officers, Brian Sicknick and Howard Liebengood. I pray for their families comfort and strength during this difficult time [sic]."
Howard Liebengood, age 51, committed suicide days after being on duty during the Capitol riots. "His death is a tragedy that has deprived all of us a dedicated public servant. His family has suffered a devastating loss and asks that they be given space to grieve in private," Barry Pollack, Liebengood's family lawyer, told BuzzFeed News.
Mitt Romney shared words of kindness on Twitter in honor of Officer Liebengood, along with other members of Congress and Capitol employees.
At his post in the Russell building, Howie was a familiar and cheerful presence, and also a friend to me and my staff, many of whom have known him for years. His bravery, kindness, and genuine care for others was deeply felt by all of us who had the privilege of knowing him.— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) January 11, 2021
This is Officer Liebengood — Howie — at a shift change in December 2014. Senators Coons and Blunt, and their staffs, would make and bring cookies over every year to mark the holidays and express our gratitude.— Ian Koski (@iankoski) January 10, 2021
He was a real person and a good guy, and this is a terrible tragedy. pic.twitter.com/oGfj6PZWCn
Officer Brian Sicknick was pepper-sprayed and taken to the hospital following the Capitol riots. He texted his family that he was fine and in good spirits but soon suffered a stroke while under the hospital's care and was placed on a ventilator. He died before his family could make it from New Jersey to DC to see him.
Many feel that Melania Trump's letter failed to acknowledge the part her husband and his supporters played in the unconscionable violence that resulted in multiple deaths.
Melania Trump's letter has been the subject of criticism on social media.
Some have questioned the sincerity of Melania Trump's messaging in the letter, pointing out the fact that while she condemned the actions of the Capitol rioters and urged Americans to unite and "heal," she immediately pivoted to take the opportunity to castigate her critics and defend herself from "false misleading accusations."
While many questioned Melania's motives and messaging, there were others who applauded her letter and thanked her for her service.
Thank you for all that you do for our country FLOTUS.— Dr. Dawn Michael💗 (@SexCounseling) January 20, 2020
But there are many harsh critics who weren't so grateful for Melania's thank you letter. Some called it "self-serving" and don't believe that she adequately condemned the actions of the Capitol rioters.
I know she’s complicit.— Jo (@JoJoFromJerz) January 11, 2021
I know she is a birther.
I know she doesn’t give a fuck about kids in cages or Christmas decorations...
But this moron just glorified domestic terrorists.
She made martyrs of these monsters.
This is disgusting.
She shouldn’t have said a damn word. 🤬
I call it a "sh** sandwich" - my narcissist mom practices this. It starts out with something neutral or meaningful, then seques into the sh** in the middle (the damaging, attacking subject that's the real purpose of the communciation), and ends with something neutral.— Truth Integrity Logic (@LogicIntegrity) January 11, 2021
Also putting Ashli Babbit’s name first? Really?— Chaim Levin (@chaim89) January 11, 2021
“Air Force Veteran Ashli Babbit”— Jo (@JoJoFromJerz) January 11, 2021
The woman was a domestic terrorist. She deserves no such distinction.
She’s honoring the deaths of terrorists in the same breath as the fallen officer their mob murdered. Absolutely disgusting.
She cannot leave soon enough.
This is Ashli Babbitt, 35, who was a 14-year veteran of the US Air Force and a Trump supporter, who had travelled to Washington DC from San Diego, and was shot and killed yesterday when she stormed the US Capitol Building with an insurrection mob. pic.twitter.com/Jxk0t0URZQ— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) January 7, 2021
You can read the entire letter from Melania Trump on the White House website.