Melania Trump issued her farewell address on Monday, following in step with a longstanding practice of outgoing first ladies. But one person absent from her speech was her successor, Dr. Jill Biden, with whom Trump has had no contact since the November election and has not invited for a traditional pre-inauguration tour of the White House.
During the seven-minute speech, Trump reflected on several issues that were dear to her during her time as first lady, including the opioid addiction crisis, online safety and children in foster care. And while she did not directly mention the Capitol attack staged by her husband’s supporters on Jan. 6, she urged Americans to “be passionate in everything you do but always remember that violence is never the answer and will never be justified.”
Although she also told the country to “not lose sight of your integrity and values,” to “use every opportunity to show consideration for another person and build good habits into your daily lives,” she did fail to show her manners to the incoming first lady.
While Trump’s lack of mentioning her successor isn’t unique in first lady farewell addresses — Michelle Obama did not mention Melania in her own farewell address four years ago — what is unique is that the outgoing first lady has not made any contact with the Bidens in any way. Dating back at least to Edith Wilson in the 1920s and the decades since, the outgoing first lady has invited her successor to the White House for a tour of its living quarters, a meeting usually done as a symbol of peaceful transfer of power. That tradition continued in 2017 when the Obamas welcomed the Trumps to the White House after the election.
But the Bidens’ staff has told reporters in the past few weeks that neither Donald nor Melania Trump has reached out to their successors during a transition period that has been marked by unsubstantiated claims of election rigging that culminated in a violent insurgence on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters that resulted in five deaths. The White House, though notably not the Trumps, has invited the Bidens to stay at the Blair House — the presidential guest residence — on Tuesday night before Joe Biden is sworn in as president at noon on Wednesday.
You can read the transcript of Melania Trump’s speech here or listen to it at the link below.
A Farewell Message from First Lady Melania Trump pic.twitter.com/WfG1zg2mt4
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) January 18, 2021