By Michael GrunwaldThe American ConservativePresident Donald Trump was “unpersonable” on the day of his death, a top Republican aide said Friday.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that was a characterization Trump’s former chief of staff Reince Priebus, who also served under President George W. Bush, had given her.
The remarks came after the House of Representatives passed a bill on Friday that would make it a felony to post on social media the death of a U.S. president or vice president, a bill that has been opposed by the White House.
House Democrats called it “deeply disturbing” that Trump’s widow, Melania Trump, was “blatantly partisan” in her remarks about her husband’s death.
Republican Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said he was “shocked” by Trump’s comments about his wife.
“I would like to call attention to the fact that Reince has consistently attacked President Trump and his administration and his wife’s husband as a partisan and political operative who has been trying to undermine the President,” Franks said.
“Reince and Melania Trump’s campaign has been the primary tool to undermine President Trump.
This latest outrageous attack is nothing short of disgraceful,” Franks added.
In her remarks Friday, Melania said she was “saddened and devastated” to hear Trump was diagnosed with brain cancer.
“I was also touched by the outpouring of love and support for my husband, Reince, and my family as they have suffered a tremendous loss, but I am especially saddened by the attacks that are being waged by Reince and his surrogates, including by some members of the press,” Melania said.
Her remarks came on the same day that Trump and Vice President Mike Pence held a joint news conference at the White, Rose Garden, in which Pence thanked his family for their “gifts of love, support and prayers” and said he will “continue to work tirelessly to make sure our country is safe for our citizens.”
Pence also praised Trump’s “brilliant” brain surgery and said, “I look forward to working with Reince to ensure the nation has the tools needed to keep us safe.”
In a statement Friday afternoon, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California called on President Trump to “condemn” the attack on his wife and to immediately resign from office.
“Donald Trump’s attacks on Reince are shameful and must be condemned by all Americans.
If the President won’t condemn these vile attacks, he is unfit to be the commander-in-chief,” Pelosi said.
Trump’s widow released a statement saying she has been a lifelong supporter of her husband and would never seek to harm him.
“It is important that we stand together as a nation to remember the lives lost and to celebrate their courage and resilience,” she said.
Pence said that the White Senate has convened for a closed-door briefing on Friday.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.