First lady Melania Trump, the "missing" FLOTUS, reappeared Monday evening for an event at the White House with President Trump but hardly anyone saw her except those in the room.
The event — a Memorial Day reception for 40 Gold Star families of American military personnel killed in action — was closed to the media, as is typically the case for this annual reception.
"She's there," her spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said in an email to USA TODAY.
Shortly after 8 p.m., Grisham sent USA TODAY an email with a statement from Trump, in which she said it was a "privilege" to welcome the families to the White House, and thanked those currently serving overseas for their service.
"To all those who have lost loved ones in service to our country, our nation grieves with you," her statement said. "It is a solemn reminder that we, the American people, are able to live as freely as we do because of the selfless sacrifices of our men and women in uniform. We remain indebted to each of them and we honor them today, together, with their families."
Later, she and Grisham tweeted some pictures on their Twitter accounts. "Tonight @POTUS & I were honored to pay tribute to our fallen heroes. Thank you to the Gold Star families that joined us in celebration & remembrance," their posts read.
No media cameras were allowed at the reception, but a reporter for the conservative Daily Caller news site, Jena Greene, was there as a member of a Gold Star family and tweeted a video of the Trumps entering a crowded room.
Greene quoted the president saying his wife had "a little problem" recently but wouldn't miss the reception. She said he joked about the media’s speculation regarding the first lady's recent absence and "laughed off" rumors of them breaking up. He said it wasn’t happening.
“ 'Isn’t that right honey?' He says to a room full of laughing Gold Star families," Greene tweeted.
This is the second year the Trumps have hosted Gold Star families at the White House — and the second time the event has attracted more notice than usual.
Last year, it was because the reception came less than a year after candidate Donald Trump attacked a Gold Star family, Khizr and Ghazala Khan, whose son, Army Capt. Humayun Khan, died in Iraq in 2004, during the 2016 campaign.
This year's attention is all about Melania Trump, 48, who hasn't been seen in public since May 10, leading to hand-wringing, curiosity and suspicion in Washington and on social media about her whereabouts.
Grisham dismissed the hubbub as "nonsense" in a statement.
"Mrs. Trump has always been a strong and independent woman who puts her family, and certainly her health above all else, and that won't change over a rabid press corps," Grisham said. "She's confident in what she is doing and in her role, and knows the rest is just speculation and nonsense."
The media interest, however, followed the unexpected news that Trump was hospitalized May 14 for a mysterious kidney condition the White House has declined to detail, other than to say the procedure to correct it was "successful."
About two weeks after Trump returned to the White House from the hospital on May 19, the "Where's Melania?" headlines began popping up as critics of the president seized on the first lady's absence to further mock the Trump administration.
The rumor mill went into overtime: Is she seriously ill? Was there trouble in the Trump marriage? Did she run away back to New York? Is she recovering from plastic surgery?
On May 30, a White House reporter for CNBC, Eamon Javers, tweeted that he saw the first lady walking with her aides in the West Wing last Tuesday afternoon.
On Twitter, doubters still demanded a second reliable source for this sighting, exacerbated by the routine closed-mouth stance of Trump's East Wing staff.
With Monday's appearance, all the fevered speculation about FLOTUS should come to an end, but it probably won't. The approach of this enigmatic first lady, who has stuck to a resolutely low profile and opted to ignore some of the conventions of her predecessors, is likely to continue.
Trump is not going to accompany her husband to either the G7 Summit in Quebec on June 8, or the Singapore summit with North Korea on June 12, according to Grisham.
It's not clear she would have gone anyway, but last year she traveled with the president overseas for various international meetings and tours, including the G7 Summit in Italy, where Trump wowed the locals in a $51,000 Dolce & Gabbana coat.