President Trump cracked an 'awkward' joke about Melania: 'Did she leave him?'

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Nearly a month after vanishing from public view, first lady Melania Trump appeared Monday at a White House reception honoring Gold Star families.

First lady Melania Trump is set to host a reception for Gold Star families following a weekslong stint out of the public eye. On May 14th, the first lady's office announced that she had undergone a "benign" kidney procedure, which was successful, and would remain hospitalized for a week.

Melania Trump had not been seen in public since May 10, when she and the president welcomed home three Americans freed from North Korea. Late Sunday afternoon, Melania's communications director, Stephanie Grisham, told ABC reporter and producer Meridith McGraw that the first lady would also be skipping this week's G7 Summit as well as her husband's June 12th Singapore meeting with Kim Jong-un. Thank you to those who joined us this evening and to the men and women now serving overseas and to their families, thank you for your service.

After that reception, Mrs Trump put out a tweet that said she and Trump "were honoured to pay tribute to our fallen heroes".

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It's the second year the Trumps have opened the White House to Gold Star families.

Mrs Trump made her worldwide debut as first lady at last year's G7 summit in Italy, and went on to attend the G20 in Germany.

He went on for a minute or so, saying the media was speculating where she has been.

Making a fashion statement wasn't the only business at hand for the first lady - it was at that meeting that she interacted with some of the women she would later entertain on official visits.

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The tweet sparked a conspiracy theory that Trump himself may have written Melania's message, given that "working overtime" is a favourite phrase of the president when he tweets about the press.

She also defended the president's decision to impose tariffs on Canada, Mexico and the European Union, saying our steel and aluminum industries are critical to our national security and need to be protected.

Grisham said the Gold Star families' event was important to Mrs. Trump and had been on her calendar for some time. She returned to the White House on May 19. However on Monday, she shared pictures of herself wearing a black look while seated next to her husband at the event. But first ladies are not elected and technically are still private citizens, and each one gets to tailor the job to suit her.

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