White House silence on Melania stokes conspiracy theories

She’s left the White House and moved back to New York City.

She’s cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller.

She’s holed up with the Obamas, working on a tell-all book about her husband — unless she had a secret nip and tuck, in which case she’s just healing.

During the two weeks since Melania Trump returned to the White House following what was described as a relatively minor surgery — a period during which she has been absent from ceremonial events like a Memorial Day wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery — conspiracy theories have flooded in to fill the void of information about the first lady’s health, and whereabouts.

The White House has released almost no information about Trump’s condition since May 14, when her spokeswoman said the first lady was undergoing a routine embolization procedure at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center “to treat a benign kidney condition.”

Her team chose to leave unexplained her extended five-day hospital stay for a procedure that is typically completed in one, or her subsequent disappearance from events at which the public has come to expect to see her next to her husband.

The directive to reveal less, not more, has been coming straight from the first lady, according to people familiar with the situation. In contrast to her husband, who has a symbiotic relationship with the media, Melania Trump is nonplussed 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.

“It’s expected that Trump people are hiding something,” said one senior administration official of the media’s questions about the first lady. This person noted that the first lady went for longer than two weeks out of the public eye before she left Trump Tower and relocated to the White House last summer.

But since then, the natural rhythm of life at the Trump White House has come to include the first lady more often. Days before her surgery was announced, she presided over the rollout of Be Best, her anti-bullying initiative, in the Rose Garden.


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