As CNN reported Monday, the president made the retort in response to a reporter asking about the first lady’s almost monthlong absence from the public eye. “Did she leave him?” POTUS reportedly said, while pointing to his wife, who was seated in the front row.
There haven’t been any photos of Melania taken since May 10, just before the 48-year-old suffered a kidney problem and underwent an embolism procedure. However on Monday, she shared pictures of herself wearing a black ensemble while seated next to her husband at the event.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) June 5, 2018
On Sunday, Melania’s spokesperson, Stephanie Grisham, told CNN that the first lady would not attend Friday’s G7 Summit in Quebec with her husband and other world leaders, nor would she travel to Singapore for the June 12 North Korea summit during which the president will meet with leader Kim Jong Un.
However, Grisham confirmed to CNN that Melania would attend the reception for Gold Star families, honoring their family members who died in battle. Reporters were not allowed to attend.
The news outlet — and social media — noted that the president’s joke was “awkward” given the grieving families in attendance.
"Did she leave him?" @realDonaldTrump jokes about the rumors surrounding @FLOTUS's lengthy absence from public view. A sort of awkward bit of humor in a room full of military families who have lost loved ones.
— Kate Bennett (@KateBennett_DC) June 4, 2018
— Kathryn K (@Katkentfl) June 4, 2018
A person inside the room tells me Trump made a light-hearted joke about First Lady’s absence, saying the media was asking: “Where’s Melania?” He went on, laughing over speculation. “Did she leave him?” he asked at one point, before pointing out Mrs. Trump was in front row
— Jeff Zeleny (@jeffzeleny) June 4, 2018
So want to speak of improper jokes? How about Trump making the joke: "Did she leave him?", referring to Melania. 1.) it was an event for gold star families who lost a loved one. 2.) in the light of his possible affair to add to confirmed ones from the past.
— Darrell Jett (@Photojett) June 4, 2018
On Wednesday, Melania addressed the speculation about her whereabouts, tweeting, “I see the media is working overtime speculating where I am & what I’m doing. Rest assured, I’m here at the @Whitehouse w my family, feeling great, & working hard on behalf of children & the American people!”
I see the media is working overtime speculating where I am & what I'm doing. Rest assured, I'm here at the @WhiteHouse w my family, feeling great, & working hard on behalf of children & the American people!
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) May 30, 2018
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle: