Melania Trump will not be present at the White House swearing-in ceremony for new Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, with the first lady saying she has a “prior commitment” that keeps her from attending.
In an announcement, via Twitter, on Monday, Melania said that she would be unable to attend because of an unspecified commitment. The first lady had just returned from an extended visit to Africa to tour humanitarian programs funded with American dollars, her first solo trip since moving into the White House.
Melania Trump’s announcement kicked up speculation and revived memories of earlier this year when she went more than a month without attending any public events or being seen in public at all.
Though Melania’s announcement drew some controversy, the first lady has already spoken in favor of the embattled federal judge. While he was facing a number of allegations of sexual assault, Kavanaugh got praise from Melania Trump as she spoke to reporters in Egypt, The Guardian noted.
“I think he’s highly qualified for the Supreme Court,” Melania said while visiting the Great Pyramid of Giza and the Sphinx.
At the time she spoke, Senate Republicans had rallied around Kavanaugh to push through his confirmation. Among Republicans, only Sen. Lisa Murkowski from Alaska did not vote in the affirmative, as she voted “present” after voicing her unease about Kavanaugh.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) October 8, 2018
In her remarks in Egypt, Melania also made reference to Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who claims that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were both in high school. After initially denying an FBI investigation, Donald Trump relented and ordered the bureau to look into the allegations. The report, which was not released to the public, was decried by Democrats who said the White House prevented the FBI from interviewing witnesses that would have implicated Kavanaugh in the assault.
“I’m glad that Dr. Ford was heard; I’m glad that Judge Kavanaugh was heard,” Melania said in Egypt. “FBI investigation was done — it’s completed — and the Senate voted.”
Melania added that she is in favor of giving a voice to victims of sexual assault.
“We need to help all the victims, no matter what kind of abuse they had,” she said. “But I am against any kind of abuse or violence.”
NEW: @FLOTUS won't attend Brett Kavanaugh swearing-in ceremony this evening at the White House due to scheduling conflict, her spokeswoman @StephGrisham45 tells me. In Egypt, Melania Trump said of Kavanaugh: "I think he's highly qualified for the Supreme Court." pic.twitter.com/8imzii3Z5w
— Kate Bennett (@KateBennett_DC) October 8, 2018
But Melania Trump has taken a different approach with the 19 women who have accused Donald Trump of sexual impropriety. She has echoed her husband’s opinion on the matter, claiming that all of the women are allegedly lying.