[BLANK_AUDIO] Of course we had. We have to start with our great first lady, Melania. Thank you Melania. [APPLAUSE] She's doing great. She went through a little rough patch, but she's doing great. We're very proud of her. She's doing a fantastic job as First Lady. The people love you. The people of our country love you. [APPLAUSE] [BLANK_AUDIO]
Melania Trump has emerged for her first public appearance (at least, the first appearance that's open to the press) since it was revealed that she underwent surgery for a benign kidney condition in early May. On Wednesday, she appeared alongside the president and vice president at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) headquarters in Washington D.C.
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For the occasion, Trump chose a bland beige trench coat styled with perfectly tousled locks, which framed her perfectly tanned and contoured face and perfectly glossed lips. Though there were questions surrounding her health following her long absence, there are no outward traces that anything is other than perfect.
Her thick camel coat brought to mind a spy's trench—something typically worn to blend in or be discreet. However, in the room of FEMA officials—who were all clad in their dark suits, as were President Trump and VP Pence—Melania's look immediately catches the eye. Though she has not verbally addressed the speculation regarding her whereabouts (she only tweeted that she was "feeling great" on May 30), her presence in the decidedly unflashy look seemed to make the statement: "I'm here. I'm fine," but at the same time, "This event today isn't about me." Like her look while unveiling her "Be Best" campaign last month, this ensemble is about as exciting as a shoulder shrug. (May we suggest bringing back some hats to spice things up?)
While Melania has been letting her clothes do the talking for her, Trump, on the other hand, has been making his anger clear regarding the rumors of their rocky relationship and FLOTUS' subsequent absence. "The Fake News Media has been so unfair, and vicious, to my wife and our great First Lady, Melania," he tweeted Wednesday morning. "During her recovery from surgery they reported everything from near death, to facelift, to left the W.H. (and me)."
"She is doing really well!" he added. In a follow up tweet, he echoed his favorite narrative: "Fake News is really bad!"
In the photos of their appearance, the First Couple's body language—specifically Trump's aggressive lean—seems to display affection hammed up for the cameras, but hey, we're no experts.
The First Lady had not been seen for 24 days prior to her appearance at the Monday's Gold Star Memorial event for the families of fallen soldiers at the White House. At the event, which was closed to the press, Melania wore a simple black sheath dress—an appropriate look for an evening of mourning and reflection.
As you'll recall, Melania was heavily criticized the last time that FEMA was making headlines. Back in August, the First Lady's decision to leave the White House clad in her signature pointy-toe stilettos while boarding the plane to survey the havoc wreaked by Hurricane Harvey was seen by many as a tone-deaf—not to mention, impractical—outfit. She later decamped from Air Force One wearing sweats, sneakers, and a baseball cap reading "FLOTUS."
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Overall, it was President Trump who took more flak for his response (or lack thereof) to the hurricanes that plagued the U.S. and Puerto Rico in 2017. Several studies report that as many as 4,600 perished following Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, however, the official death toll still stands at under 100. President Trump has yet to acknowledge the discrepancy in these numbers.
Melania is expected to attend a Congressional picnic next, followed by a July 4th celebration alongside the president. She will no longer attend the G7 Summit in Canada or President Trump's meeting with Kim Jong Un in Singapore as was initially planned.
Until next time, Melania.