US FIRST Lady Melania Trump underwent kidney surgery on Monday, May 14 … and she hasn't been seen in public since.

Now, after nearly three weeks out of the public eye, people are wondering (and in some cases, worrying,) about where she is.

Melania Trump on May 7, prior to her surgery. Picture: AP
Melania Trump on May 7, prior to her surgery. Picture: AP

After a five-night stay at Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre for what the White House said was an "embolisation procedure" for a benign kidney issue, the First Lady (who US President Donald Trump, perhaps typing too quickly, called "Melanie" on Twitter last weekend) returned home on May 19.

A little less than a week later, reporters asked Mr Trump about his wife's whereabouts. "According to a pool report, President Trump responded by pointing to a window in the White House residence and said: 'She's doing great. She's looking at us right there,'" wrote the Washington Post. "Reporters turned to look at the spot he indicated, but there was no sign of the First Lady."

East Wing spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in a statement that Mrs Trump was "resting comfortably and remains in high spirits". Exactly two weeks after her surgery, Melania still hadn't made a public appearance, although there was a sign of activity … on her Twitter feed.

The White House said in a statement on Tuesday that Melania is "doing great" and is returning to work: "She has had several meetings … and will continue to do so this week. We are focusing on her initiatives, and also some longer-term planning for events."

But this official word has not quelled some swirling conspiracy theories. Even the Washington Post seemed to imply something was amiss: In a story entitled, "Trump says the First Lady is 'doing great.' She hasn't been seen in public for two weeks," journalist Emily Heil wrote: "Although medical experts have said the kind of procedure the First Lady had typically requires only a night's hospitalisation, White House and East Wing aides have said nothing more about her condition and instead asked for privacy."

Sleuths on Twitter take things a little further.



There are darker suspicions about the First Lady's absence, although, it's worth noting that according to one writer, Amanda Fortini, who had a similar kidney procedure around the same time as Melania, "It takes more than 18 days to recover."

Maybe Melania is just relishing the opportunity to lie in bed and get away from it all.


This originally appeared on Vogue and is reproduced with permission.