Call off the search party, Melania Trump reappears after weeks of speculation about her absence
Melania Trump has made her first public appearance in almost a month, at a White House event to honour Gold Star families whose relatives were killed in military action.
The first lady’s attendance at the reception on Monday evening ends weeks of fervent speculation as to her whereabouts. Internet conspiracy theories about “missing Melania” weren’t helped by reports over the weekend that the first lady will not be attending the upcoming G7 summit or the 12 June summit in Singapore with her husband.
While Monday’s event was closed to press, the First Lady posted two photos on Twitter in which she could be seen sitting next to Trump.
A blurry video which appears to show Melania Trump, but has not been verified, was posted on social media by Jena Greene, a reporter at the Daily Caller. Greene’s father was killed in action in Iraq in 2004, which means she is from a Gold Star family and would have been invited to the reception.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) June 5, 2018
CNN has also reported that the first lady was in the room. According to CNN, Trump made a joke about Melania’s prolonged absence, saying that the media were speculating the first lady had left him. He then pointed out that his wife was, in fact, sitting in the front row. While playful, the joke was perhaps not entirely befitting an event where families were mourning their loved ones.
Following the event, the first lady tweeted: “Tonight @POTUS & I were honoured to pay tribute to our fallen heroes. Thank you to the Gold Star families that joined us in celebration & remembrance.”
The last time Melania Trump participated in an official public event was on May 10, when the first couple greeted three former US prisoners who had been released from captivity in North Korea. Four days later, the first lady was admitted to hospital to treat a benign kidney condition. She was released from the hospital with no complications on 19 May.
“Great to have our incredible First Lady back home in the White House. Melanie is feeling and doing really well,” Trump tweeted in observance of the event. After realising he’d spelt his wife’s name wrong Trump quickly deleted the tweet and posted a new one with the correct spelling.
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
While the simplest reason for Melania’s prolonged absence from the spotlight is her recent operation, the internet has been ablaze with more outlandish rationales. These range from theories that the first lady had plastic surgery to speculation that she has had enough of political life and fled her marriage. Some people have even been posting humorous fliers in New York seeking information on the “missing” first lady.
Melania Trump’s absence from the public eye has been particularly perplexing to some considering that she announced her “Be Best” anti-bulling initiative on 7 May. As television personality Billy Eichner tweeted: “How can you Be Best if you Be Missing”?
On 30 May, Melania Trump tweeted, in response to theories about her absence.
This did little to quell the conspiracy theories; indeed it only fuelled the idea that the first lady had died or disappeared and someone else was writing her tweets for her.
As Monday’s event has made clear, however, rumours of the first lady’s death have been greatly exaggerated.