KEY POINTS

  • Melania Trump urges Americans to choose love over violence
  • The first lady celebrated the "Be Best" campaign in a farewell video address
  • Melania and Donald will not be attending Biden's inauguration event

Outgoing first lady Melania Trump on Monday released a farewell video message in which she slammed "violence" — a comment that comes just days after the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol — and urged Americans to “choose love.”

During the nearly seven-minute video address, the first lady thanked military service members, law enforcement officers and caregivers who inspired her during her tenure at the White House. She also celebrated her work in the “Be Best” campaign, which aimed to address cyberbullying and drug abuse among American youth. 

“In a few short years, I have raised awareness of how to keep children safe online; we have made incredible progress on our nation’s drug epidemic and how it impacts the lives of newborns and families, and we have given a voice to our most vulnerable children in the foster care system,” Trump said.

“Internationally, Be Best has evolved into a platform that encourages world leaders to discuss issues impacting the lives of children and allows them to share solutions. It has been an honor to represent the American people abroad. I treasure each of my experiences and the inspiring people I have met along the way,” she said.

The first lady also denounced judging people by the color of their skin and using "differing political ideologies as a basis for aggression and viciousness."

However, her farewell message included no direct comments about her husband nor his incitement of the thousands of supporters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 7, which led to the death of five people, including a police officer, dozens of injuries, and public displays of white power and pro-Nazi ideology. She did ask Americans, though, to "focus on what unites us. To rise above what divides us. To always choose love over hatred, peace over violence, and others before yourself." 

But the first lady hasn't completely avoided speaking about the Capitol insurrection directly. In a White House blog post on Jan. 11, she said: "Our Nation must heal in a civil manner. Make no mistake about it, I absolutely condemn the violence that has occurred on our Nation's Capitol. Violence is never acceptable."


The first lady’s video address on Monday comes two days before she and President Trump are scheduled to move out of the White House and fly to the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. 

The Trumps are expected to break with longstanding tradition by choosing not to attend incoming President Joe Biden’s inauguration event on Jan. 20. 

Melania had previously broken another U.S. tradition by not inviting the next first lady, Jill Biden, to the White House for a walkthrough of the private living quarters located on the second and third floors.  Melania Trump First Lady Melania Trump is pictured during a meeting with Polish President's wife Agata Kornhauser-Duda (Unseen) at the Belvedere Palace in Warsaw on July 6, 2017. - US President Donald Trump is on his first visit behind the former Iron Curtain. He is expected to focus largely on defence in talks with Baltic, Balkan and central European leaders. Photo: ANDRZEJ HULIMKA/AFP via Getty Images