Melania Trump makes rare public appearance at National Archives naturalization event

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(NEW YORK) — Former first lady Melania Trump delivered remarks Friday at a naturalization ceremony at the National Archives in Washington.

It was a rare public appearance from Melania Trump, who is herself a naturalized citizen. She became a U.S. citizen in 2006 after immigrating from Slovenia, and she is just the second first lady to be foreign born.

Melania Trump discussed her own path to citizenship as she addressed the 25 people from 25 different nations who were being sworn in during the ceremony, telling them: “It is my privilege to share this great nation, America, with you.”

“For me, reaching the milestone of American citizenship marked the sunrise of certainty,” she said. “At that exact moment, I forever discarded the layer of burden connected with whether I would be able to live in the United States. I hope you’re blanketed with similar feelings of comfort right now.”

She went on to discuss the responsibility of becoming a citizen, which she said means “actively participating in the democratic process and guarding our freedom.”

Melania Trump’s involvement in Friday’s event was also noteworthy because of the criminal case facing former President Donald Trump related to the National Archives’ effort to wrangle back documents from his administration.

Earlier this year, special counsel Jack Smith’s office brought a 37-count indictment against Donald Trump over his handling of classified material after leaving the White House. Trump has pleaded not guilty and denies any wrongdoing.

Prosecutors allege Trump willfully retained documents containing some of the country’s top secrets, showed them to some individuals and then tried to obstruct efforts to get them back.

It was the National Archives that had first reached out to Trump in spring of 2021, months after he’d left office, to say materials from his presidency were missing. Months later, in January of 2022, the National Archives received 15 boxes of documents that Trump had stored at his Mar-a-Lago estate and later reported to the Justice Department the boxes contained classified information.

A trial is set to start on May 20.

National Archivist Colleen Shogan also delivered brief remarks Friday, in which she said she is “committed to ensure that the National Archives remains a trusted resource for all Americans, regardless of creed, belief, or opinion.”

Melania Trump has kept an incredibly low profile since departing the White House. She rarely joins her husband on the campaign trail. But earlier this month, she appeared publicly alongside other former first ladies to attend a memorial service honoring the life of former first lady Rosalynn Carter.

 

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