Melania issues cryptic first statement on Trump scandal

Former US first lady Melania Trump has made her first public comments since her husband Donald appeared in a New York courtroom to deny 34 fraud charges.

Ms Trump had remained silent on the charges faced by the former president.

She apparently didn’t accompany Mr Trump and his entourage when they flew to New York to appear in court, instead remaining at home Palm Beach.

After last Tuesday’s court appearance, which lasted less than an hour, Mr Trump returned to Mar-a-Lago on his private Trump Force One jet to give a speech to hundreds of fans. HIs wife apparently skipped that event too, sparking reports she “doesn’t sympathise” with Mr Trump’s legal woes.

“Trump Had to Beg Melania to Be Seen in Public With Him”, said Vanity Fair. “Trump’s Political Appearances Are ‘Uncomfortable’ for Melania: ‘She Simply Wants to Be Left Alone’ “, claimed People. “Melania Trump ‘Lives in an Ivory Tower of Denial’ “, wrote Page Six.

On Sunday, Ms Trump made her first public appearance since the latest scandal surrounding Mr Trump hit historic heights with his arraignment.

She and her husband turned out to an Easter brunch at Mar-a-Lago on Sunday. Page Six reported the holiday reappearance came after Mr Trump pleaded with his wife to be by his side as he seeks a return to the presidency.

On Tuesday (US time), Ms Trump followed that up with a cryptic tweet from her office.

“News organisations have made assumptions about the former first lady’s stance on subjects that are personal, professional, and political over the past few weeks,” it read.

“In these articles, unnamed sources are cited to bolster the author’s claims.”

In a follow up tweet, Ms Trump asked people to “exercise caution and good judgment when determining whether or not stories concerning the former first lady are accurate, particularly when they fail to cite Mrs. Trump as a source of information”.

Mr Trump has pleaded not guilty to 34 felony counts of falsifying business records over allegations that he orchestrated payments to two women before the 2016 election to suppress publication of their sexual encounters with him.

Prosecutors say the payments to adult film actor Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal constituted an attempt to conceal a violation of election law.

Opinion polls show Mr Trump remains the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination as he seeks to deny Joe Biden a second term in office.

Mr Trump and his allies have accused Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, a Democrat, of bringing the charges for political reasons.

When he returned to Florida last week, three of Mr Trump’s children – Donald Trump Jr., Tiffany Trump and Eric Trump – and Eric’s wife Lara Trump, were there for the Mar-a-Lago address. Other supporters in the crowd included GOP Representatives Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene, as well as Kari Lake, who lost the recent Arizona governor’s race.

The Trumps at Mar-A-Lago's Easter brunch

Source: Twitter/MassiveMac

But Melania, her son Barron, Mr Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner were not spotted in the audience.

“I have a son here who has done a great job. I have another son here who’s done a great job,” Mr Trump said at the beginning of his speech, pointing to them both as the crowd cheered.

“Tiffany [pointing her out] … and Ivanka … and Barron … he’s tall and he’s smart … but I have a great family and they’ve done a fantastic job and we appreciate it very much.”

Almost immediately, commentators and social media users started asking: “Where is Melania?”

Over the weekend a source told People magazine that “they weren’t expecting [the indictment], but Melania will support him.

“That’s what she does. They are a family.”

But, “she remains angry and doesn’t want to hear [the alleged hush money payment] mentioned”.

Ivanka Trump made a short statement on her Instagram stories, saying she was “pained” for her father and country: “I appreciate the voices across the political spectrum expressing support and concern.”

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