The Mysterious Disappearance of Melania
First lady Melania Trump made her first public appearance outside the White House in weeks Wednesday. Assuming that was really her at that FEMA meeting. I mean, between body doubles and holographic technology, who really knows, right?
I mean, holograms of Abba are going out on tour next year and they’ll be singing and swaying and transporting us back to the ’70s. How hard is it to come up with one phantom Melania that just sits there and listens to reports on hurricane preparations?
There is Something in the Air, Fernando
If you haven’t been paying attention, Melania had the nerve to go a few weeks without being seen in public. She had kidney surgery, was hospitalized and then laid low. The media was apoplectic. Where was she?! What happened to Melania? What fate has befallen her?
All sorts of conspiracy theories sprouted. They ranged from the commonplace — she’s off helping look after her ailing mother — to the cruel — President Trump had physically abused her and she was recovering from her wounds.
Let’s see, according to Marie Claire:
- She Bailed
- She Got Plastic Surgery
- She Has a Body Double
- Her Disappearance is an Elaborate Ruse to Make the Media Look Bad
According to TV writer Nell Scovell
- She’s Taking Care of Barron
- She is Negotiating a New Better Marriage Contract
- She’d Had it with the Stormy Stuff
- She Threatened to Go to Mueller and is Now Imprisoned
The Federalist published a list of 8 times members of the media peddled a conspiracy theory about Melania.
(And yeah, maybe she has been responsible for the Washington Capitals’ Stanley Cup surge.)
CNN’s whiny Brian Stelter defended all the speculation.
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) June 3, 2018
Disappeared? You’ve got Amelia Earhart, D.B. Cooper and now Melania Trump. Or maybe a better analogy is the Lindbergh Baby. If you believe certain media, her disappearance certainly involved foul play.
I wish that I didn’t suspect that the prolonged, poorly explained public absence of Melania Trump could be about concealing abuse. I wish that it was a ludicrous prospect. I wish that the @POTUS wasn’t a man with a history of abusing women, including those to whom he is married.
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) June 3, 2018
Jamil Smith writes for Rolling Stone, which for you younger folks, was once a respectable magazine.
Melania Under the Knife, Under No Obligation
Melania Trump just had someone carve into her kidney. Perhaps she wasn’t in the mood to deal with media nonsense. “Sources say you were mean to the nurses.” “Is it true your hospital gown was designed by Stella McCarthy?” “Is it true your scar is shaped like a Pentagram?” “How responsible is your husband for the suicide of Kate Spade?” Perhaps she was worried her medication might make her mouth off.
Then again, she was a supermodel. When you’ve been paid thousands of bucks an hour to stand in front of cameras, perhaps you have no interest in doing it for free, particularly for a crowd as hostile as the White House press corps.
FLOTUS tweeted this on May 30.
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
Translation: “Dear Media, my life doesn’t revolve around you.”
Speaking of translations, the woman speaks five languages. Perhaps she’s been on a secret overseas mission. She certainly looks like she could be cast in the next Bond movie. (No, it won’t be called The Man With the Golden Hair or The Confidential Human Source Who Loved Me. Perhaps From Slovenia With Love.)
First Ladies Out of the Public Eye
The funny thing is, first ladies have often been out of the public eye.
The wife of Andrew Johnson made exactly two public appearances after he became President in 1865. John Quincy Adams wife Louisa reportedly spent her days in the White House “binge-eating chocolates, writing poetry and plays about a ‘repressed’ female character who supposedly represented herself.” It didn’t help matters that Louisa’s mother-in-law was the quintessential first lady Abigail Adams.
More recently, Bess Truman hated Washington so much she spent much of the Truman Presidency back home in Independence, Missouri. Jackie Kennedy would slip away into the Virginia countryside and even off to Europe. Pat Nixon could have hitched a ride on one of the Apollo rockets and the media wouldn’t have noticed.
“Even people who can recall the Nixon presidency probably can’t remember the sound of her voice,” first lady scholar Katherine Jellison told The New York Times.
Hillary, Barbara, Laura and Michelle
Now, Hillary Clinton was deliberately high-profile. We got a “two-for-one” deal, remember? (Though she secretly slipped off to Colorado after Bill confessed his Lewinsky affair.) Barbara Bush, the media was glad to give her elbow room out of fear of that sharp-tongue. Laura Bush? How often can you talk about books?
Then, of course, there’s Michelle Obama. She rarely seemed happy in the fishbowl. (See any recent pictures? She looks as relieved and relaxed as a new college grad.) Michelle would disappear on foreign trips on the taxpayer’s dime with little fanfare.
But generally, she was so fawned over by the media she had little reason to avoid public appearances. Michelle was on more magazine covers than Kim Kardashian. Appeared on as many TV shows as Ryan Seacrest. Her initiatives, like the school lunch program, were treated like the greatest works of public policy since the Magna Carta.
Melania Trump could rescue a shipload of baby kittens and would be accused of interfering with maritime shipping.
The Melania Truth
During yesterday’s meeting with FEMA, President Trump said his wife had gone through a “little rough patch, but she’s doing great.” Earlier, he tweeted four reporters had spotted her when she was supposedly missing, claiming they kept quiet because it would ruin the media’s “sick narrative.”
…Four reporters spotted Melania in the White House last week walking merrily along to a meeting. They never reported the sighting because it would hurt the sick narrative that she was living in a different part of the world, was really ill, or whatever. Fake News is really bad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 6, 2018
CNBC’s Eamon Javers had spotted Melania during her “missing” time.
Not that this will deter the conspiracy theorists, but I saw the First Lady walking with her aides in the West Wing yesterday afternoon. https://t.co/N9xadq7P0d
— Eamon Javers (@EamonJavers) May 30, 2018
Javers was right. It did not deter the conspiracy theorists.
Not that Melania cares, according to POLITICO.
Melania Trump is nonplused by any attention, people close to her said. And she views most of the questions about her health not as driven by real concern, but by nosiness. And she doesn’t care to play the game — even at the price of feeding the rumor mill.
So welcome back, Melania. The media has had it’s fun, and you look fit as a fiddle.
Just in time to win that Stanley Cup tonight for the Capitals.