“‘Missing’ Melania Trump: The first lady tweets she’s ‘feeling great’ but mystery remains,” wrote The Mercury News out of Silicon Valley.
“Melania Trump Tweets She's 'Feeling Great.' She Hasn't Been Seen Publicly in Weeks,” Time said in a headline.
“Melania Trump hasn't appeared in public for 20 days,” wrote CNN.
Fox News also noted that CNN ran a calendar graphic noting each day in a row they didn’t have a confirmed sighting of the first lady after her kidney operation, helping fuel a host of ugly conspiracy theories that were, primarily, attacks on her husband President Trump.
But a couple of those malicious attacks came straight from mainstream media figures, intent on casting the president in the worst light.
“Suppose President Trump punched the First Lady in the White House (federal property = federal jurisdiction), then ordered the Secret Service to conceal the assault. POTUS has Article II authority over Secret Service. Is that obstruction? Under Sekulow/Dowd, apparently NO,” wrote senior editor for The Atlantic David Frum on Twitter.
Twitter user Pam from Los Angeles replied, “Somehow rumor and gossip have become the ‘news’. How will any not yet brain dead person ever trust the media again? People like Frum need to find some integrity.”
Jamil Smith, senior writer for Rolling Stone, helped spread the conspiracy theory on Twitter too, writing, “I wish that I didn’t suspect that the prolonged, poorly explained public absence of Melania Trump could be about concealing abuse. I wish that it was a ludicrous prospect. I wish that the @POTUS wasn’t a man with a history of abusing women, including those to whom he is married.”
Twitter user Tom D. Harry of Johannesburg, South Africa called Smith out, writing in response, “I'm not a Trump fan by any means but to make an accusation like that without any substance is just scandalous and sensationalistic. It's also disrespectful to Melania herself. You cannot be using domestic abuse to score political points.”
Media analyst Jeffrey McCall said in response to Frum and Smith, “Pundits who have engaged in such wild rumoring should, indeed, apologize, but I don't think that is likely to happen. The moral compasses of pundits who would engage in such unsupported allegations are so out of whack that a public apology would not cross their minds.”
Melania made a public appearance on Thursday while wearing a stunning black dress during a very special White House event.