Melania Trump made her first public appearance in 24 days on Monday afternoon.
The first lady has been the center of a lot of speculation in the last several weeks. It began when the White House announced that she had been unexpectedly hospitalized for an emergency kidney procedure. However, even after she was declared healthy, Melania Trump was not seen for several week, and the American people got worried.
Finally, she stepped in front of the cameras on Monday afternoon in th White House's East Room. According to a report by CNN, the event was a private reception for over 40 Gold Star military families. It was a very typical public engagement for a first lady, but it got plenty of coverage due to reclusive streak.
President Donald Trump has reportedly joked with his staff about the public confusion, mimicking the media as he asked "Where's Melania.
"Did she leave him?" he reportedly asked, before pointing at the first lady sitting right in the front row. Reporters in the room said that the moment was awkward, as the Gold Star families were not sure if they could laugh.
A spokesperson for Melania Trump, Stephanie Grisham, spend the last week or more battling the memes and conspiracies about her whereabouts. On Monday, she was vindicated at last.
"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 said. "She's confident in what she is doing and in her role, and knows the rest is just speculation and nonsense."
The first lady herself mocked the rumors in a Tweet posted on Wednesday, though she attributed them to the media more than the general populous.
"I see the media is working overtime speculating where I am & what I'm doing," she wrote. "Rest assured, I'm here at the @WhiteHouse 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
Before Monday, Melania Trump was last seen on May 10, when she and the president welcomed home three Americans who had been detained in North Korea at Joint Base Andrews. It was only four days later that she was hospitalized.
The first lady underwent an embolization procedure at Walter Reed Military Hospital. It was reportedly a success, however her doctor never issued an official statement, as is typical for politicians. She was also kept overnight for what should have been a same-day discharge operation.