President Donald Trump revealed new information about his wife's health before leaving for the G7 Summit on Friday. Speaking to reporters outside the White House, the president said that First Lady Melania Trump had undergone a "big operation" that lasted more than a few hours. Trump also revealed doctors had said Melania couldn't fly for at least a month following the procedure.
"She wanted to go," President Trump told reporters in reference to Melania while answering questions on the White House's South Lawn before departing for the G7 Summit early Friday morning. "Can't fly for one month, the doctors say," Trump went on to say of the first lady, who was not seen publicly for nearly a month following a five-day stay at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center last month. "She had a big operation that was close to a 4-hour operation."
According to CNN, Trump's remarks were the first time the word "operation" had been used "on the record" by someone in the White House to describe the first lady's reason for checking in to Walter Reed Military Medical Center. Previously, the White House had said Melania Trump "underwent an embolization procedure to treat a benign kidney condition." They described the procedure as "successful" and noted "there were no complications" in a statement put out May 14.
Stephanie Grisham, the first lady's communications director, tells Bustle via email that Melania Trump "cannot travel internationally at this time" but would not elaborate as to why.
Speaking to reporters Friday, Donald Trump said that the first lady "was great" before pointing to the White House and adding, "right there," likely in reference to where his wife was at the moment. "And you know what? She's a great first lady," President Trump added.
Melania Trump's embolization procedure and subsequent hospitalization came as a surprise when it was announced in May as the first lady had appeared to be in good health the week before. The first lady announced her "Be Best" campaign May 7 in a public ceremony in the White House Rose Garden. A few days later, on May 10, she was seen with Trump welcoming three American hostages home from North Korea. Four days later, the White House announced she'd been admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Although Trump was released from the hospital on May 19, she did not appear in public until June 4, when she joined her husband in attending a ceremony to honor the sacrifice of Gold Star families. That ceremony was closed to the press. The first lady appeared before the press for the first time Wednesday, when she joined the president for a FEMA briefing on hurricane preparedness.
President Trump has accused the media of being "unfair" and "vicious" to the first lady. "During her recovery from surgery they reported everything from near death, to facelift, to left the W.H. (and me) for N.Y. or Virginia, to abuse," Trump wrote in a tweet published Wednesday. "All Fake, she is doing really well!"
Donald Trump went on to claim that members of the media had in fact seen Melania Trump in person but failed to report on it as it didn't fit their narrative. "Four reporters spotted Melania in the White House last week walking merrily along to a meeting," he tweeted. "They never reported the sighting because it would hurt the sick narrative that she was living in a different part of the world, was really ill, or whatever."
The first lady has also recently accused the media of "working overtime speculating" about where she is and what she's doing. "Rest assured, I'm here at the @WhiteHouse [with] my family, feeling great, [and] working hard on behalf of children [and] the American people!" she tweeted May 30.