Melania Trump appears for 1st time in 3 weeks

Alex Brandon  AP

Alex Brandon AP

After more than three weeks out of the public eye, the U.S. first lady strolled into a White House event for military families on Monday and swept away the wild speculation that she was incapacitated or had otherwise vanished.

She didn't attend the family get together at Camp David last weekend (Ivanka, Don Jr, Eric and even Tiffany went), won't be attending the G7 summit in Quebec with the President this week, and nor will she be by his side at the Singapore summit with Kim Jong-un the week after.

"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", said Grisham. Accompanying the text were photos of the reception, including one of her sitting next to the president.

The statement offered no other details about Mrs. Trump's hospital stay or the procedure - although President Trump tweeted on May 14 that she was "in good spirits" and that the procedure was "successful". She was, according a tweet Trump sent last week, at the White House, "feeling great".

Yesterday, however, she returned to her duties in order to attend a White House event honouring Gold Star military families.

"To all those who have lost loved ones in service to our country, our nation grieves with you", Melania Trump said in a statement. But they're from a reporter for CNN, which President Trump has repeatedly called "fake news", so do with that what you will.

The US first lady, known for her privacy and independence, had not been seen in public following a surgery last month.

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Colbert said that the White House had recently claimed Melania had undergone surgery for a "benign kidney condition".

From the clip, it seems that Trump made her anticipated return in wearing a simple sleeveless shift dress.

Not that this will deter the conspiracy theorists, but I saw the First Lady walking with her aides in the West Wing yesterday afternoon.

Ms. Grisham, the first lady's spokeswoman, dismissed curiosity about her travel, saying that it was "pretty typical" not to travel after a medical procedure.

Her absence has sparked all kinds of wild speculation but the first lady has shown no interest in making an appearance just to knock down rumours.

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. The press is not invited, but no doubt we will receive some kind of confirmation from some source whether the first lady was there or not.

"I wish that I didn't suspect that the prolonged, poorly explained public absence of Melania Trump could be about concealing abuse", Smith tweeted.

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