First lady Melania Trump co-hosted a reception for Gold Star families with President Donald Trump at the White House Monday evening, marking her first public appearance since mid-May.
The first lady was last seen in public on May 10 with the president when they welcomed back three Americans released from captivity in North Korea.
Four days later, on May 14, the White House announced Mrs. Trump underwent minor kidney surgery at Walter Reed National Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
Trump was released from the hospital May 19.
Numerous media outlets including Politico, CNN and The Washington Post have speculated about the first lady’s absence from the public eye.
A Politico story carried the headline, “White House Silence on Melania Stokes Conspiracy Theories.”
Among the theories the outlets chronicled were that the first lady left the White House and has moved back to New York City, she’s cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller, or perhaps she underwent plastic surgery.
Melania Trump shot down those rumors tweeting last week, “I see the media is working overtime speculating where I am & what I’m doing. Rest assured, I’m here at the @White House w my family, feeling great, & working hard on behalf of children & the American people!”
I see the media is working overtime speculating where I am & what I'm doing. Rest assured, I'm here at the @WhiteHouse w my family, feeling great, & working hard on behalf of children & the American people!
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) May 30, 2018
Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s spokeswoman, addressed Mrs. Trump’s absence last week, saying she is “doing great.”
“Sadly, we deal with conspiracy theories all the time, so this is nothing new, just more silly nonsense,” Grisham said. “She is doing great. I wouldn’t characterize it as a long absence. She was hospitalized for almost a week and is now home and recovering.”
Grisham said the first lady “has been involved in several internal meetings with staff all last week, and that continues this week. We’ve been going over initiatives and other long-term planning for events such as the Congressional Picnic and 4th of July.”
— Jena Greene (@JenaMGreene) June 4, 2018
The spokeswoman added in a statement to Fox News on Monday, “Mrs. Trump has always been a strong and independent woman who puts her family, and certainly her health above all else, and that won’t change over a rabid press corps. She’s confident in what she is doing and in her role, and knows the rest is just speculation and nonsense.”
In response to the Politico piece, CNBC correspondent Eamon Javers reported that he saw Trump with her aides in the West Wing last Tuesday.
Not that this will deter the conspiracy theorists, but I saw the First Lady walking with her aides in the West Wing yesterday afternoon. https://t.co/N9xadq7P0d
— Eamon Javers (@EamonJavers) May 30, 2018
Replying to a tweet by CNN’s Brian Stelter about Trump’s disappearance, Fox News personality Guy Benson wrote “at least two journalists stated publicly that they’ve seen her in the last few days at the (White House).”
Forgive me, but did she not recently undergo surgery? And haven’t at least two journalists stated publicly that they’ve seen her in the last few days at the WH? https://t.co/0hB8W8vpsh
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) June 4, 2018
Trump’s Monday evening event with Gold Star families was closed to the press, but the White House often releases photos following such occasions.
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