In a statement released Monday, White House officials said that First Lady Melania Trump underwent a kidney procedure and is recovering in hospital. According to the statement, she had "an embolization procedure to treat a benign" condition.
"The procedure was successful and there were no complications," the statement continued. "Mrs. Trump is at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and will likely remain there for the duration of the week. The first lady looks forward to a full recovery so she can continue her work on behalf of children everywhere." President Donald Trump reportedly remained at the White House while his wife was in surgery.
Shortly after 4 p.m., Trump tweeted that he would be visiting his wife soon. "Heading over to Walter Reed Medical Center to see our great First Lady, Melania," he wrote. "Successful procedure, she is in good spirits. Thank you to all of the well-wishers!"
A first lady hasn't undergone a serious medical procedure since the days of Nancy Reagan, CNN reports. In 1987, Reagan had a mastectomy, removing her "cancerous left breast," according to New York Times coverage from the time.
Just last week, Melania Trump unveiled her formal first lady platform — "Be Best." Through it, she intends to promote general childhood wellness. Specifically, the Be Best campaign will focus on three main pillars: well-being, social media abuse, and opioid addiction prevention.
"As a mother and as first lady, it concerns me that in today's fast-paced and ever-connected world, children can be less prepared to express or manage their emotions and oftentimes turn to forms of destructive or addictive behavior such as bullying, drug addiction or even suicide," Trump said at a press conference, where she outlined exactly what Be Best would do.
Until she announced her platform, little was known about what Trump intended to focus on during her time as first lady. Though it is not required that the president's spouse take up a specific cause, many opt to use their public position to promote tackling a relatively nonpartisan social issue. Former First Lady Michelle Obama, for example, chose to target childhood obesity. She planted a White House vegetable garden, fought for more nutritious school lunches, and in 2010 announced the "Let's Move" initiative, which took a multifaceted approach to promoting child and family health.
Prior to the Be Best announcement, Trump said she intended to focus on fighting cyberbullying. "We must find better ways to honor and support the basic goodness of our children, especially in social media," the first lady said while campaigning for husband Donald Trump in the fall of 2016. "It will be one of the main focuses of my work if I’m privileged enough to become your first lady." She also said, at the time, that she would "work had to improve everyday life for women."
In many ways, Melania Trump has remained somewhat of an enigma to the American public. She is not known for making many public speeches, and after Donald Trump was inaugurated, she didn't move to the capital right away. Instead, she opted to remain in New York, with their son, Barron Trump, so that he could finish out the school year in one place. She and the first son did not move to Washington, D.C. until nearly six months after Donald Trump officially became president.
At times, she and the president's relationship have faced scrutiny. Any time the people of the internet detect what they consider to be a hint of coldness between the first couple, rumors tear across social media, attempting to read into their marriage. Melania Trump's spokesperson has emphatically denied that there are any significant problems between them, and has said that Trump is focused on fulfilling her role as first lady. The two have been married since 2005 and have one child together — the aforementioned Barron, who is 12 years old.
By and large, news of Trump's surgery took the public by surprise. As of Monday, few details of her condition are known.