Ivanka Trump has been pressed into service as the fill-in first lady, appearing at a White House event this week in replacement of Melania Trump, as the real first lady’s mysterious disappearance from the public eye continues.
Ivanka has always been one of the most public-facing members of the Trump family, spearheading a number of public initiatives while Melania, the wife of Donald Trump, largely stayed in the background. But this week, Ivanka took on an even bigger role than she has before, People magazine reported, filling in for Melania at a White House event and leading to more questions about why the first lady has not been seen in more than three weeks.
Ivanka Trump hosted the White House Sports and Fitness day, which brought some big names in the world of sports to encourage physical fitness for children. At the event, Donald Trump publicly acknowledged the work his daughter had done.
“She really, she’s helping to bring together all these amazing leaders and athletes who will work to break down barriers to youth sports participation and empower each child to reach his or her full potential through sport and through play,” Donald said, with Ivanka by his side.
Melania Trump has not been seen in public since leaving to undergo a surgical procedure in mid-May. White House officials said Melania underwent a simple procedure to treat a benign kidney condition and that the operation went well, but she has not been seen since then.
That has led to questions about why she has remained out of the public eye and led to conspiracy theories ranging from claims that she is filing for divorce and leaving Donald, to rumors that she underwent plastic surgery and is recovering away from the spotlight. Some Twitter users even believed that she may have moved back to New York after seeing that New York was noted as the location of her Twitter account, but that was an older account that she has not used recently.
While Ivanka Trump took over the normal first lady duties this week, her role in the White House has been a point of scrutiny for critics. Ivanka has maintained her business ties while working as one of her father’s top advisers, leading to questions about unresolved conflicts of interest.
While the mystery of Melania Trump’s disappearance continues, as her absence now stretches past three weeks, White House officials have said that she has fully recovered from surgery and is now back to work in the White House.