In a rare appearance, Melania Trump welcomes new citizens at a National Archives ceremony

Dec 15, 2023, 10:00 AM

In a rare public appearance, former first lady Melania Trump stressed the importance of “guarding our freedom” and the responsibilities that accompany American citizenship as she spoke Friday at a naturalization ceremony at the National Archives.

Born in Slovenia, Melania Trump is the only first lady who is also a naturalized U.S. citizen. She recounted her path to that citizenship, beginning with a worker visa upon arriving in New York City during her career as a model.

“How fortunate to be with the naturalizing individuals and their families as they recite the Oath of Allegiance and become Americans before our great nation’s founding documents,” she said.

The location of the ceremony was notable. The national repository for presidential documents has featured as part of one of the criminal cases pending against her husband, former President Donald Trump, as he seeks a second term in the White House.

The National Archives sent a referral to the FBI stating that 15 boxes recovered from Trump’s Florida home in January 2022 contained dozens of documents with classified markings, part of an investigation that has resulted in 37 counts of mishandling classified documents, including retaining classified information and obstructing justice.

Trump’s trial is scheduled to begin on May 20, 2024, despite efforts by his team to postpone it until after next November’s presidential election.

Friday’s ceremony marked a rare appearance for the former first lady, who has said she supports her husband’s campaign but has not yet been on the campaign trail as he seeks the 2024 GOP nomination.

She said Friday that becoming a U.S. citizen comes with a great deal of responsibility.

“It means actively participating in the democratic process and guarding our freedom,” she said. “It is a life-altering experience that takes time, determination and sometimes even tremendous strength.”

In his latest campaign for the White House, Trump has promised a return to hard-line immigration policies if he wins the 2024 election.

Among his proposals, Trump wants to revive and expand his controversial travel ban, which initially targeted seven Muslim-majority countries, begin new “ideological screening” for all immigrants and end the constitutional right to birthright citizenship by signing an executive order his first day in office. That would only permit children with at least one U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident parent to be eligible for a passport, Social Security number and other benefits.

Friday’s ceremony featured 25 people from 25 nations being sworn in as new U.S. citizens, surrounded by founding documents including the Constitution.


Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP

United States News

Associated Press

What to know about the latest court rulings, data and legislation on abortion in the US

A judge in Montana rejected abortion restrictions, the attorney general in Missouri is accusing Planned Parenthood of illegally transporting minors for abortions and new data shows how the way abortions they’re provided continues to shift in a nation where some states have bans and others are protecting access. More than a year and a half […]

37 minutes ago

FILE - National Urban League president and CEO Marc Morial speaks at the National Urban League Annu...

Associated Press

Black Americans’ significant economic and civil rights progress threatened, report says

WASHINGTON (AP) — Black Americans have endured considerable injustices and barriers to prosperity and equality throughout U.S. history. But their social, economic and political advances in the 60 years since the enactment of major civil rights legislation have been unsatisfactory, according to a new annual study on racial progress. The “ State of Black America […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

With trash bins now required in NYC, only the rats are sorry to see the garbage piles go

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City’s tradition of piling garbage bags on the sidewalk for pickup is going the way of the dinosaur. As of Friday, all 200,000 businesses in the Big Apple are required to put out their bags of trash in garbage bins, as communities across the county and world have long […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Authorities search for father and 2 young children in New Hampshire after mother found dead

MEREDITH, N.H. (AP) — Authorities were searching Friday for a father and his two young children after the children’s mother was found dead in a New Hampshire apartment. Authorities issed an Amber Alert just after 4 a.m. for the abduction of 4-year-old Elowyn Duren and 1-year-old Vaelyn Duren from the city of Berlin. Authorities said […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

Gaza doctor says gunfire accounted for 80% of the wounds at his hospital from aid convoy bloodshed

RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — The head of a Gaza City hospital that treated some of those wounded in the bloodshed surrounding an aid convoy said Friday that more than 80% had been struck by gunfire, suggesting there had been heavy shooting by Israeli troops. At least 112 Palestinians were killed and more than 750 […]

3 hours ago

A "vote here" sign sits outside a Phoenix polling place in 2022....

Associated Press

Judge rules Arizona’s new voting laws requiring proof of citizenship aren’t discriminatory

An Arizona district judge has ruled state legislators didn't discriminate when passing new voting laws that require proof of citizenship.

4 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.


Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

In a rare appearance, Melania Trump welcomes new citizens at a National Archives ceremony