When Donald Trump announced he wasn't attending Joe Biden's inauguration, it wasn't the first time his wife had learned of his intentions on Twitter before being informed.

White House insiders have reported that until that tweet, Mrs Trump had no idea if she would be attending the January 20 event with her husband.

The outgoing First Lady's silence in recent weeks, as the President's term comes to a close, has been deafening.

Mrs Trump has had nothing to say outside of a statement issued about last Wednesday's US Capitol riots, five days after they took place.

A senior White House staffer told CNN it wasn't just Mrs Trump who was hearing about her husband's plans for Mr Biden's historic event, with many staff only learning about his intentions in the tweet as well.

"It's not the first time she has learned what he was doing because he tweeted it before he told her," the source said

The source insisted, "She's part of this. She can be silent, but she's part of this".

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Kate Andersen Brower, author of First Women: The Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies , said she believe Mrs Trump was "digging in" in recent weeks.

"I think she has channelled her husband's fury and is obviously not interested in playing the traditional role of a first lady who, in times of crisis, seeks to unite and soothe the country," she told CNN.

"There's never been any first lady as stubborn and defiant as Melania Trump.

"She understands her husband and what he stands for, and it simply does not bother her. She is not a victim and she will not leave the White House apologising for her husband's behaviour."

Mrs Trump hasn't set up anything of significance in her final weeks in the White House aside from work on photo albums of her time as first lady and oversee the photo shoot.

Sources say she hasn't helped with the onboarding of incoming first lady Jill Biden or made any contact with her.

Mrs Trump has reportedly been busy shipping their belongings either to Mar-a-Lago or to storage and is happy to be leaving, unlike her husband who refused to concede his presidency.

In her statement on the riots, Mrs Trump took a moment to condemn her own critics, vaguely likening the attacks against her to the one that took place last Wednesday.

"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," the 50-year-old wrote.

"This time is solely about healing our country and its citizens. It should not be used for personal gain. 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."

Yet her attempts to deflect critique in the face of the deadly siege - which many argue was spurned by the inflammatory language and actions of her own husband - only managed to incite more, with US media and one of Ms Trump's own former friends turning against her.

In a bombshell interview, her former adviser, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, claimed Ms Trump's role in the riots was far more damning than many might think.

After slamming Ms Trump's "silence and inaction" in the direct aftermath, Ms Wolkoff called her belated response "vacuous".

Speaking to CNN, she said her former friend's words "had no meaning".

"That's the saddest part of all of this. They're just words. There have been no actions," she said.

"Melania Trump has a voice, she hasn't used it. She has a platform, she hasn't used it. As the First Lady of the United States of America … you have the ability to speak loudly, clearly and for the rest of Americans."

Should we be hearing more from Melania? Share your thoughts in the comments below

Originally published as Melania's silence as Trump ends term



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