The first lady tweeted Monday morning that she was “saddened to see our country & communities being damaged & vandalized” and asked “everyone to protest in peace,” while making no mention of any of the underlying reasons causing people to peacefully protest.
She gave her first public comments on the demonstrations on Friday, tweeting her condolences to George Floyd’s family and again calling for protests to remain peaceful.
“Our country allows for peaceful protests, but there is no reason for violence,” she wrote. “I’ve seen our citizens unify & take care of one another through COVID19 & we can’t stop now. My deepest condolences to the family of George Floyd. As a nation, let’s focus on peace, prayers & healing.”
While Melania Trump has been absent from public views for days, it’s somewhat typical for the private first lady. The New York Times reported she “opted not to travel to Florida for the rocket launch” on Saturday amid the nation’s unrest.
“One person briefed on the events said the first lady, anxious about the protests, made the decision at the last minute, but another person briefed on what took place disputed that,” the Times reported.
ABC News confirmed New York Times reporting that President Donald Trump was rushed to an underground bunker at the White House on Friday as hundreds of protesters gathered outside the White House, but it is unclear if the first lady and the couple’s 14-year-old son, Barron, joined him.
A more public former first lady Michelle Obama shared a string of tweets about Floyd’s death on Friday, writing in part, “Like so many of you, I’m pained by these recent tragedies. And I’m exhausted by a heartbreak that never seems to stop. Right now it’s George, Breonna, and Ahmaud. Before that it was Eric, Sandra, and Michael. It just goes on, and on, and on.”
“Race and racism is a reality that so many of us grow up learning to just deal with. But if we ever hope to move past it, it can’t just be on people of color to deal with it,” she added.
Following the death of Floyd in police custody last week, protests in Minnesota spread across the country. Some have resulted in vandalism and destruction of property, with many cities issuing curfews in response.
The president, in a call with the nation’s governors on Monday, ramped up rhetoric against demonstrations, telling state leaders, they must “dominate” out-of-control protests, calling on law enforcement to get “much tougher” and blaming unrest erupting across many communities squarely on “the radical left.”
Unlike his wife, the president did not voice support for peaceful protests.