'What Happened To Melania Trump?' Inside The Wild Conspiracy Theory
It's Tuesday, America. Do you know where your First Lady is?
Melania Trump was not seen in public for 26 days.
Prior to being spotted at a White House event on Tuesday (more on that in a minute), she was not seen in public since May 10.
Granted, she underwent a routine surgery for a "benign kidney condition" four days later, but after that, promptly disappeared.
She didn't attend the family get together at Camp David last weekend (Ivanka, Don Jr, Eric and even Tiffany went), won't be attending the G7 summit in Quebec with the President this week, and nor will she be by his side at the Singapore summit with Kim Jong-un the week after.
In essence, she removed herself from public life for nearly four whole weeks, making her absence unusual even for the notoriously private person.
Where in the world is Melania Trump?
The 'Melania is missing' narrative took a deeply weird turn around the two week mark, when the Washington Post published this bizarre anecdote about the President pointing to an empty window:
Friday morning, a reporter shouted a question to the president about a his wife’s whereabouts as he prepared to board Marine One to attend the Naval Academy commencement.
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.”
Reporters turned to look at the spot he indicated, but there was no sign of the first lady.
Almost a week later, Melania's official Twitter account sent a somewhat suspicious tweet that did absolutely nothing to quell rumours that all was not well at the White House.
The language, which mirrors that of the President's, kicked off speculation that it had been written either by him or by whoever writes his tweets. The account is the official @FLOTUS one, and Melania -- unlike her husband -- is rarely online, so it's not a far stretch to assume somebody other than her has access to her Twitter account.
"Straight from FLOTUS!" her spokesperson Stephanie Grisham retweeted moments later, which like, okay Steph.
Her continued disappearance from public life has prompted some pretty wild conspiracy theories.
It should be noted here that Melania was sighted -- briefly -- at a Gold Star Families event at the White House on Tuesday, but let's not let that get in the way of a good conspiracy theory yarn.
THEORY #1: She's done a runner.
Oh, would that this one were true. Melania's apparent disdain for her husband has been witnessed multiple times in public, with the First Lady vividly recoiling as her husband reaches for her hand.
She also took a lethargic five months to move into the White House after Trump did, languishing in their New York City residence and (evidently) taken a well-earned break.
THEORY #2: She's been replaced by a body double, possibly for the second time
Earlier this year, a fake Melania conspiracy ran hog wild after an appearance by the couple at a US Secret Service training facility.
Donald Trump, standing side-by-side with Melania, told media that his wife "happens to be right here," which is of course an insanely normal thing to say and not at all suspicious. The fact that she was wearing huge sunglasses didn't help one bit.
It came just one month after Trump literally forgot Melania was standing right next to him, while addressing first responders in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Florida.
"Melania really wanted to be with us, it's really touched her heart," he said, despite the fact that she was less than two feet away.
Normal man. Normal presidency.
THEORY #3: It's Melanie
Shortly after Melania's apparent 'routine kidney surgery', Trump tweeted that he was happy to have "Melanie" back in the White House.
Who is Melanie? Did Trump really misspell his own wife's name, or was he accidentally referring to her body double, quickly deleting his tweet so as not to cause further scrutiny?
The latter. It's obviously the latter.
(QUICK NOTE ON THEORIES #1-#3)
It's at this point that you might be thinking, "Wait. Aren't all of these theories basically the same?". Correct. Congratulations, genius. All theories thus far are tangents of the same, overarching theory, that Melania Trump is not who -- or where -- the White House says she is.
THEORY #4: There was no kidney surgery
Here's something new: Twitter conspiracists (the best kind, obviously) have spend entire seconds wondering if the surgery for her 'benign kidney condition' wasn't actually for something else entirely.
"The procedure was successful and there were no complications," the White House said in a statement after her surgery, reporting that she would remain in hospital for the rest of the week. The New York Times spoke to a number of kidney specialists who confirmed that the week-long stay was "unusual" -- but the paper clarified that it was likely due to her position as First Lady.
"It's like literally an outpatient procedure," one specialist told the newspaper of record. "You go in, you have it done, you lie in bed for a while to keep the blood vessel from bleeding and then you go home."
Some kind of cosmetic surgery was the going theory, but for the record, Melania once told GQ that she didn't believe in cosmetics and would "age gracefully."
Luckily for everyone, FLOTUS posted photos from the Gold Star event, where you can absolutely see her face if you squint quite a bit.
She's right there, sitting next to her husband.
There's no sunglasses, no evidence of surgery, and no sign that she hates him.
And so we must ask, in the words of Melania Trump herself: What is she thinking?