As the Trump administration continues to drag itself along, one individual has very notably stepped back from the public side of its activities — the first lady, Melania Trump. It was May 10 the last time that she was seen in public; in the time since, she has spent a period in the hospital. She was revealed to have been admitted to Walter Reed Medical Center on May 14, where she had a procedure completed to address what’s been said to have been a benign kidney condition.
Her communications director, Stephanie Grisham, has reassured the public that she’s doing just fine, but now, as internet speculation continues to rage about the first lady, more absences from impending foreign trips have been announced.
Later this week, the president will travel to Quebec, Canada, for the annual G7 summit, and after that he will travel to Singapore for a widely watched meeting with the dictator of North Korea, Kim Jong Un. On both trips, according to Grisham, the first lady will be absent. She revealed as much to major media outlets like ABC and CNN.
She has, as mentioned, herself in the recent past sought to downplay speculation about the first lady, offering specific parameters for what she’s been doing while out of the public eye.
Last week, for instance, she told ABC, speaking of the first lady:
‘She’s 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 Fourth of July.’
She added at the time that Melania was “doing really well.”
The first lady herself has taken an apparent step to downplay rumors about her status, with a message going up on her official Twitter account recently reading:
‘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!’
Despite these attempts at reassurances, it remains unclear when exactly she will make a return to the public eye. There is, to be sure, a precedent for the first lady accompanying the president on trips like he is soon taking; she went with him to the G7 summit last year in Italy, making her absence this year that much more pronounced.
While the nation waits for the first lady to step back into the spotlight, even if briefly, her husband faces immense challenges on the latest two trips that she has been revealed to be skipping.
When it comes to the G7 summit, he just recently imposed tariffs on allies of ours like Canada, continuing on with a pattern of aggression established already and earning himself new condemnation in the process.
The president will be meeting with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12 after the status of that meeting was in question for some time. It comes after the president carried on with a campaign of relentless aggression towards the North Koreans for the initial part of his administration.
Whether or not it will have a significant impact on world affairs is one of many questions that remain to be answered — a group including that of when the first lady will be publicly seen again.
Featured Image via Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images