President Donald Trump revealed new details Friday about first lady Melania Trump's medical procedure last month, saying she had a "big operation" and couldn't go to the G7 with him because of doctor's orders.
"She has to - because she wanted to go - can't fly for one month. She had a big operation, it was close to a four-hour operation, and she's doing great, right there", he said, pointing up again.
Trump's use of the word "operation" differs from the statement put out by her office when it announced she was hospitalized on May 14 at Walter Reed Military Medical Center. The president tweeted on Wednesday that Mrs. Trump was spotted by reporters in the West Wing heading to meetings, but those reporters failed to report the sighting because it would not fit a narrative she was "living in a different part of the world" or "was really ill". "Mrs. Trump had a successful embolization procedure". Mrs. Trump had a successful embolization procedure.
Such a weeks-long disappearance by a modern-day first lady is indeed rare, said Ohio University history professor Katherine Jellison, an expert on presidents' wives. Embolization is a minimally invasive procedure in which doctors snake a catheter into blood vessels of the kidney to find the right one that is feeding the tumor so they can block the flow of blood to the growth.
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Following the surgery, Melania's absence at events where the public has come to expect her alongside the president was well documented, leading her to take to Twitter to castigate reporters.
Despite the operation's routine nature, Melania remained there for five days, returning to the White House on 19 May.
She ended the speculation this week by making her first public appearance in almost a month, accompanying Mr Trump to a hurricane preparedness briefing at Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Washington on Wednesday.