According to some close friends of the Trumps, even they were taken off guard by the news that Melania was undergoing surgery at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for a “benign kidney condition.” It seems that the White House did a good job at keeping this piece of information private, as people like Paolo Zampolli, UN ambassador and friend of Melania, heard about the information along with the rest of the world through the media, according to People.
For Melania’s friends and admirers, it was disappointing to hear that President Trump was absent during her surgery. Instead, he attended a daily intelligence briefing at 11 a.m., had lunch with Vice President Mike Pence at 12:30 p.m., and also called a number of important figures. These included James Shaw Jr., who’s come to be known as the “Waffle House hero” for disarming an active shooter, preventing more deaths.
Finally, around 5 p.m., Trump boarded Marine One to visit his wife, who is expected to stay at the hospital “for the duration of the week.” Trump let everyone know via Twitter that it was a “Successful procedure, she is in good spirits.” He was reportedly with his wife for about over an hour, and he departed around 6:30 p.m.
Another time when a president was not at the hospital while the first lady was undergoing surgery was when Laura Bush was having a procedure to help her with pinched nerves in her neck in 2007. However, Bush was in Australia at the time, which would have made it very difficult for him to be present.
Melania’s not the only first lady to undergo surgery, but a hospitalization this long hasn’t occurred for a first lady since Nancy Reagan back in 1987.
Although not many people knew about the procedure taking place, Pence said that it was “long-planned,” so it was not due to an emergency. Two doctors who specialize in kidney health speculated that the procedure may have been to treat angiomyolipoma, a benign kidney tumor, detailed the Sacramento Bee. Meanwhile, the White House has not released further details about the exact condition Melania was treated for.
Thankfully, Melania’s procedure was completed successfully without complications, and many are wishing her a speedy recovery.