First lady Melania Trump is expected to attend a White House event on Monday evening to honor Gold Star families, her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, confirms to CNN.
Although the President and Mrs. Trump hosted a similar event last year, the attendance of the first lady at this year’s reception will mark the first time she has participated in an official event, either alone or by her husband’s side, since May 10 when the first couple greeted freed American prisoners upon their return to Andrews Air Force Base following captivity in North Korea.
Four days later, the first lady entered Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, for what her spokeswoman described as a benign kidney procedure. Trump remained hospitalized for five nights following the procedure, returning to the White House on May 19.
Since then, Trump has not been seen in public, nor did she join the President, his children Donald Trump Jr., and Tiffany Trump, daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump, and son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, at Camp David this weekend.
Despite her planned attendance at Monday’s event, the first lady will not be traveling to the G7 summit this year or join the President when he goes to Singapore for the planned June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, her spokeswoman told CNN.
Much speculation has surrounded the lengthy, 24-day lack of first lady sightings, spawning conspiracy theories ranging from plastic surgery to a stealth move back to New York City, all of which Grisham has denied.
The first lady herself weighed in on the rumors, tweeting Wednesday, “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!”
Monday’s reception is closed to the press, but following last year’s Gold Star families event, the White House released the following statement about the event with these remarks from Mrs. Trump: “Gold Star families have lost an immediate family member who was serving during wartime, and they are a unique and distinct category of individuals who should be cherished. These families have endured the ultimate in pain and sacrifice on behalf of our country, and I am honored to have spent the evening with them. My husband and I commit to always pay tribute to our active service military, veterans, and the families who love them.”
Grisham tells CNN the first lady has been holding meetings with her East Wing staff about her platform initiatives, as well as planning for upcoming White House events.