First lady returns to public eye

WASHINGTON (AP) – Melania Trump has reappeared.

The first lady showed herself in public Wednesday for the first time in nearly a month, seated alongside her husband, President Donald Trump, for a briefing on the federal government’s preparedness for the hurricane season that began June 1.

The routine meeting at Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters took on outsized significance after the White House revealed that Mrs. Trump would accompany her husband. Before Wednesday, she had not been seen off the White House grounds since May 10, days before she was hospitalized to treat a benign kidney condition.

The first sighting of the first lady came as she and the president strolled down the walkway from the Oval Office and climbed into “the Beast,” his idling limousine. She was wearing a belted trench coat and her customary high heels.

Minutes later, Mrs. Trump took her seat alongside the president at one end of a long conference table as the FEMA briefing began, appearing to be her usual self.

“She’s doing great. She went through a little rough patch, but she’s doing great,” Trump said at the top of the meeting, surrounded by his Cabinet as several governors and other officials participated by video conference. “And we’re very proud of her. She’s done a fantastic job as first lady.”

He added: “The people love you. The people of our country love you. So thank you, honey.”

The first lady smiled and nodded as her husband and others spoke during the portion of the briefing that was open to journalists. She and the president later spent a few minutes greeting FEMA employees. Mrs. Trump stepped with ease, smiled and was heard telling one worker “thank you very much.”

It was her first appearance away from the White House since she and the president traveled to Joint Base Andrews to welcome home three Americans who had been released from detention in North Korea.