The mysterious whereabouts of Melania Trump

Melania Trump appeared at only a handful of public events this year adding to speculation
Melania Trump appeared at only a handful of public events this year adding to speculation - GABRIELLA AUDI/AFP
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Melania Trump’s whereabouts are an intriguing “mystery” to her neighbours in Palm Beach, according to members of the elite social set.

The former first lady is rarely seen outside the confines of Mar-a-Lago, the private members club that has become the Trumps’ permanent base since quitting the White House.

Laurence Leamer, author of a book on Mar-a-Lago and a longtime Palm Beach resident said: “Nobody knows where she is. It’s like a mystery. It’s certainly talked about.”

Prior to becoming first lady, Mrs Trump would reportedly often be sighted by Mar-a-Lago members, particularly in the club’s beauty parlour.

These days, however, residents in the wealthy island enclave say she is rarely seen in public.

“She rarely exits Mar-a-Lago. It’s a strange, isolated life they have in that place,” said Mr Leamer.

Mr Leamer, who was banned for life from Mar-a-Lago by Mr Trump over his reporting, said he still had many friends who regularly attend the club and are bemused by Mrs Trump’s conspicuous absence from the social scene.

He said current members report seeing Mrs Trump far less often at the club, despite the family’s living quarters being “right off the main hall”.

Supporters wait, with a portrait of former US First Lady Melania Trump
Her conspicuous absence from the campaign trail, has come to the attention of Mr Trump’s rivals - JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP

Meanwhile, her rare public outings over the last year, most notably at a naturalisation ceremony in Washington DC earlier this month, have raised more than a few eyebrows.

Her decision to appear as a guest speaker for a naturalisation ceremony at the National Archives was unusual in more than one regard.

The Trumps have never attempted to hide their disdain for the US capital, making few return trips since quitting the White House.

But it was her presence at the National Archives in particular which drew intense media scrutiny, since the US agency is at the heart of Mr Trump’s pending trial for allegedly mishandling classified documents.

Adding to the intrigue, Mrs Trump used her address at the citizenship ceremony to stress the importance of America’s “democratic process”, without any apparent hint of irony as her husband awaits trial on charges of election interference.

Her conspicuous absence from the campaign trail, and the courtroom, as her husband fights criminal charges and works to win back the presidency, has come to the attention of Mr Trump’s rivals.

Fliers bearing a photo of Mrs Trump captioned “missing” and asking “have you seen this woman” alongside the number for Mar-a-Lago’s security office were distributed in the critical state of Iowa earlier this year.

Fliers captioned 'missing' were circulated in Iowa earlier this year
Fliers captioned 'missing' were circulated in Iowa earlier this year - THE WASHINGTON POST

Her low profile has triggered questions about what role, if any, she intends to play in Mr Trump’s re-election bid. But the Republican front runner has hinted that, behind the scenes, Mrs Trump offers her input, for instance advising him against dancing on stage at his rallies.

Addressing a crowd in Iowa, he said: “You know, our first lady hates it when I do. She says: ‘Darling, I love you so much, but this is not presidential when you do the weightlifting, this is not presidential, or when you do the swimming thing … or when you dance off the stage’.

“Technically, she’s probably right. But what the hell,” he added.

It has triggered questions over what sort of first lady Mrs Trump would make, if given a second turn in the role.

Palm Beach insiders have described Mrs Trump as fiercely protective of her family, in particular her 17-year-old son Barron.

Some speculated Mrs Trump may be reluctant to return to the White House at a critical point in her son’s education, and noted that, this time around, he would be subjected to more press scrutiny.

“She wants to protect him... and if Trump was back in the White House, Barron will be all over the news because he’s an adult [now],” noted Mr Leamer.

Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a business executive who wrote a tell-all book on Mrs Trump following their fall out, told the Washington Post, that, regardless of her prolonged absence, Mrs Trump would continue to support her husband.

Nevertheless, she suggested that Mrs Trump was unlikely to be swayed by external pressure to shape her role on the campaign, or even as first lady.

“She always said she was going to do what she wanted to do,” she said.

Broaden your horizons with award-winning British journalism. Try The Telegraph free for 1 month, then enjoy 1 year for just $9 with our US-exclusive offer.