Washington, June 5: US First Lady Melania Trump, who had not been seen publicly for the past 24 days, attended an official White House event with her husband President Donald Trump. The event on Monday, a private East Room reception for more than 40 Gold Star military families, was not in and of itself an unusual activity for the First Lady of the US, reports CNN.
However, the First Lady's absence made her appearance all the more newsworthy. In a statement on Monday night, Melania Trump said it was a privilege to welcome the military families to the White House, and she thanked them and military members more broadly for their service.
"To all those who have lost loved ones in service to our country, our nation grieves with you," her statement read. "It is a solemn reminder that we, the American people, are able to live as freely as we do because of the selfless sacrifices of our men and women in uniform. We remain indebted to each of them and we honour them today, together, with their families."
The Gold Star event on Monday was closed to the press, with no opportunity for media photos or video, a decision made out of respect for the military family members, Trump's communications director Stephanie Grisham told CNN. The First Lady's lack of recent viewings, prior to Monday's event, has created a storm of "where is she?" memes on the internet and speculation on her whereabouts. Her last public appearance was on May 10 when the couple welcomed home three American hostages from North Korea at the Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.