Melania Trump secretly packed up the White House as her husband refused to concede the election and only found out she wasn’t going to Joe Biden’s inauguration when President Donald Trump tweeted he wouldn’t attend.
The first lady is winding down her final week at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and preparing for the next phase of her family’s life.
‘(Melania Trump) is not sad to be leaving,’ one White House official told CNN.
The first family will move to Mar-a-Lago after leaving Washington D.C.
Moving vans were spotted outside the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Wednesday as the first family and Trump administration staff prepare to exit the premises. Packing boxes have been spotted outside office doors in the West Wing.
But the first lady had to start the family move secretly because of fears it would raise the ire of President Trump, who didn’t concede he lost until last Thursday, after a pro-Trump mob rioted on Capitol Hill and Congress certified Joe Biden’s victory. The president never congratulated Biden nor mentioned his name in his video remarks. He merely said there would be a ‘new administration.’
Even that admission has not seen Melania Trump reach out toincoming first lady Jill Biden. A first lady usually hosts her successor for tea. But that happens with the exiting president hosts the incoming one – something Trump has not invited Biden to do.
But staff in the East Wing are preparing transition binders, a source with knowledge of the situation told DailyMail.com, as part of a greater White House transition effort for the incoming Biden administration.
Melania, like President Trump, has seen the size of her staff dwindle as the administration comes to a close. There are about five staffers left in the East Wing to finish out the last week in office.Two quit in protest of the president’s handling of the riots: her chief of Staff Stephanie Grisham and social secretary Anna Cristina ‘Rickie’ Niceta.
The outgoing first lady hasn’t been seen in public since she and President Trump returned from Mar-a-Lago on December 31, where they had been spending the holidays with family.
It’s unclear what’s in store for Melania Trump after life in the White House. She has been reportedly looking at schools for son Barron in Florida but has made no indication she plans to keep up her ‘Be Best’ campaign or her work with the military once her husband leaves office.
Melania Trump secretly packed up the White House so as not to anger President Trump as she spends her last week as the nation’s first lady
Workers unload pallets of unfolded boxes at the Executive Office Building on the White House ground
West Wing staff are also packing up, loading boxes into cars in the executive drive way
Melania Trump found out she was not going to Joe Biden’s inauguration when President Trump tweeted he would not attend – above she holds the bible while Trump takes the oath of office at his January 2017 ceremony
Additionally, she found out she would not be attending Biden’s inauguration ceremony on January 20th when President Trump tweeted last week he wouldn’t be there.
‘It’s not the first time she has learned what he was doing because he tweeted it before he told her,’ a source told CNN.
President Trump made the dramatic announcement last week.
‘To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th,’ he tweeted.
The Trump family is expected to leave Washington D.C. ahead of time with some reports saying they will depart the White House on January 19th – the same day Biden arrives in town to prepare to take the oath of office as the 46th president.
Biden indicated he was glad Trump wasn’t attending his swearing-in.
‘One of the few things he and I have ever agreed on. It’s a good thing him not showing up,’ he said last week. He noted Vice President Mike Pence, who is expected to attend, is welcome.
The last president not to attend his successor’s swearing-in was President Andrew Johnson in 1869 – who had also been impeached. Both John Adams and John Quincy Adams snubbed their successors too.
Meanwhile, Melania Trump is leaving her time as first lady with a bit of controversy.
On Monday, shebroke her silence on last week’s mob attack on the Capitol but critics accused her of playing the victim.
Five days after the attacked that resulted in five deaths, the first lady published a statement that acknowledged the deaths of her husband’s supporters before the deaths of two Capitol Police officers – and lashed out extensively at ‘gossip’ about her.
‘My heart goes out to: Air Force Veteran, Ashli Babbit, Benjamin Philips, Kevin Greeson, Rosanne Boyland, and Capitol Police Officers, Brian Sicknick and Howard Liebengood. I pray for their families comfort and strength during this difficult time,’ she wrote.
But in her 600-word essay published by the White House, she quickly turned the situation to herself, slamming the’salacious gossip, unwarranted personal attacks, and false misleading accusations on me’ – a reference to reports she was conducting a photo shoot in the White House during the MAGA mob scene.
‘I find it shameful that surrounding these tragic events there has been salacious gossip, unwarranted personal attacks, and false misleading accusations on me from people who are looking to be relevant and have an agenda. This time is solely about healing our country and its citizens. It should not be used for personal gain,’ she wrote in the message entitled Our Path Forward.
The essay is filled with spelling errors – Babbit’s name was spelled wrong – it was Babbitt – and grammatical mistakes that were later corrected in the version online.
Melania Trump – seen with President Trump at a Georgia rally in early December – is leaving her time as first lady with a bit of controversy after being accused of playing the victim in her statement on the MAGA riot at the Capitol
The first lady issued a 600-word statement called Our Path Forward which was published on the White House website early on Monday
Meghan McCain, the daughter of the late senator John McCain and a frequent critic of the president, blasted Melania Trump for her statement.
‘Five people died in a domestic terror attack on our own republic last week incited by her husband but Melania Trump is the victim in this?! Every morning I think I can’t get more disgusted….,’ Meghan McCain tweeted.
While Melania has largely stayed quiet during Donald Trump’s attempts to illegally reverse the election results, she has echoed the president’s misleading language of ‘counting legal votes’ and has not publicly acknowledged Joe Biden’s victory.
But she wrote in her latest message that ‘it has been the honor of my lifetime to serve as your first lady’, a tacit acknowledgement that her term is nearly over.
Biden takes the oath of office on January 20th.
Melania’s message was published early on Monday morning, three days after the president was permanently banned from Twitter.
And while Donald Trump Jr and Eric Trump had appeared at a campaign rally Wednesday morning where the president whipped his supporters into a frenzy shortly before they besieged the Capitol, the first lady stayed out of sight during the day of chaos.
As a White Housesource told The Mail on Sunday that during Wednesday’s siege of the Capitol, the first ladywas in the East Wing of the White House overseeing a photo shoot for a new coffee table book about presidential artifacts.
‘The heart of US government was under siege, our very democracy on the line, but Mrs Trump was calmly arranging porcelain figurines for the photographer,’ the source said, saying even the most loyal remaining Trump staffers were left ‘dumbfounded’ by her actions.
Aides even askedMelania to intercede on Wednesday, to force her husband to publicly decry the insurgency, but she refused.
‘She said nothing. She remained silent and carried on arranging a vase for the shoot. She checked out of this presidency and her marriage a long time ago.’
Additionally,Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who worked in the East Wing in the early days of the administration and then wrote a memoir of her time there that painted Melania in an unflattering light, wrote in The Daily Beastover the weekend that she is ‘ashamed’ to have ever worked for the first lady.
‘I can’t believe how blind I was to the depth of her deception and lack of common decency,’ Wolkoff wrote.
Without mentioning those claims directly in her statement on Monday, Melania condemned what she said were ‘false misleading accusations on me’ from ‘people who are looking to be relevant and have an agenda’.
The first lady said she was praying for the families of the four protesters and two Capitol Police officers who died in the hours and days after the attack.
She added that ‘our nation must heal in a civil manner’, after President Trump initially praised the mob as ‘very special’ but later condemned the violence.
‘Make no mistake about it, I absolutely condemn the violence that has occurred on our Nation’s Capitol. Violence is never acceptable,’ she wrote.
She went on: ‘As an American, I am proud of our freedom to express our viewpoints without persecution. It is one of the paramount ideals which America is fundamentally built on.
‘Many have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect that right. With that in mind, I would like to call on the citizens of this country to take a moment, pause, and look at things from all perspectives.
‘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.
‘It is inspiring to see that so many have found a passion and enthusiasm in participating in an election, but we must not allow that passion to turn to violence.
‘Our path forward is to come together, find our commonalities, and be the kind and strong people that I know we are.’
Melania, pictured, was supervising a White House photoshoot while a violent mob rampaged through the halls of Congress, but she appeared to deny this
Melania Trump attended her husband’s 2017 inauguration with Barack and Michelle Obama – but the outgoing president is boycotting Joe Biden’s swearing-in on January 20 this year
Praising Americans for their ‘strength and character’ during the pandemic, Melania also voiced thanks to the ‘millions of Americans who supported my husband and me over the past four years’.
In November, she had drawn ire by writing on Twitter that ‘every legal – not illegal – vote should be counted’, implying that the result hinged on illegal votes as President Trump was falsely claiming.
But she concluded Monday’s message by saying: ‘Most importantly, I ask for healing, grace, understanding, and peace for our great Nation.’
‘Every day let us remember that we are one Nation under God. God bless you all and God bless the United States of America.’