Mainstream media outlets “once again” are “trying to find a conspiracy where there is none” by wildly speculating about first lady Melania Trump’s health and her post-surgery absence, National Rifle Association (NRA) spokesperson Dana Loesch said Thursday on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends.”
Melania Trump underwent kidney surgery on May 14 with no warning. White House officials protected the first lady’s privacy and released scant information about her recovery during her five-day hospital stay. But the White House released a statement when Melania Trump was released on May 19, saying, “She is resting comfortably and remains in high spirits.”
The first lady has kept a low profile since her return from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and did not attend the wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington Cemetery on Memorial Day.
It did not take long for media outlets and pundits to speculate over Melania Trump’s whereabouts as conspiracy theories emerged.
Melania Trump addressed the rumors on Twitter Wednesday, writing, “I see the media is working overtime speculating where I am & what I’m doing. Rest assured, I’m here at the @WhiteHouse w my family, feeling great, & working hard on behalf of children & the American people!”
But that wasn’t enough to keep the rampant speculation at bay.
With varying degrees of seriousness, some conspiracy theorists wondered whether Melania Trump had moved out of the White House. Some mocked her, claiming she was being held hostage in the White House. Some even wondered whether she was actually alive.
The Mercury News updated a Wednesday post about the first lady’s whereabouts following her tweet called, “‘Missing’ Melania Trump: The first lady tweets she’s ‘feeling great’ but mystery remains.” CNN posted a story after Melania Trump’s tweet surfaced called, “Melania Trump hasn’t appeared in public for 20 days.” A CNN video wondered, “Where is Melania?”
The Guardian wrote Thursday, “‘Missing’ Melania Trump breaks silence after 20-day absence.” The Huffington Post asked, “I Wonder Who Wrote That Melania Trump Tweet,” suggesting that President Donald Trump himself may have penned the tweet.
USA Today wondered in a video Wednesday, “Where is Melania Trump? Why has she not been seen in public in weeks?” USA Today’s newsletter noted Wednesday, “Melania is alive and ‘feeling great,’ she, or perhaps her husband, says.”
Even David Mikkelson, the CEO and founder of the conspiracy theory-debunking Snopes, told PEOPLE Thursday, “You can’t blame people. She was suddenly in the hospital for something that hadn’t been announced in advance and she hasn’t been seen since,” adding, “It could be perfectly innocuous, but it also could be a cover story for something else.”
But Loesch came to Melanie Trump’s defense.
“I mean, she’s had surgery. The White House was very forthright about the procedure that she had done. They were very forthright about how she was going to recover and where she was going to recover,” Loesch noted. “I mean, we’re not at Hillary Clinton levels of conspiracy with her health, here. So I think that the media needs to maybe perhaps chill out a little bit.”
The collapse of 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton following a 9/11 ceremony in 2016 and her coughing fits caught on camera provided fodder for rampant speculation during the presidential election. Clinton and her allies repeatedly defended her from conspiracy theorists and insisted she was in good health during her campaign. As for her collapse on 9/11, the Clinton campaign blamed pneumonia for it.
“But again, it’s the hypocrisy. This is why conservatives get so aggravated,” Loesch said. “They get aggravated at media hypocrisy. Because Hillary Clinton, if she falls down on the street and leaves a shoe behind and conservatives ask questions about it, they’re called conspiracy theorists and fear mongers and that they’re attacking Hillary Clinton and that we’re sexist.”
“But then with something like this, the media is hounding Melania Trump,” Loesch continued. “I mean, she is not a hostage. She is the first lady. She had a procedure done. They were open about it. Lay off.”
Loesch lambasted the “legacy media” for “once again trying to find a conspiracy where there is none.”
“If they only were this attentive during the previous administrations. I would have loved to see media work this hard then,” Loesch lamented. “It is amazing that the media is so obsessed with this.”
Loesch mocked the media further when she wondered whether the next step would be special counsel Robert Mueller weighing in on the controversy and investigating Melania Trump’s true whereabouts.
“Are they going to send Bob Mueller after Melania Trump? Is that what is going to happen next? Is Bob Mueller going to add this to his witch-hunt list?” Loesch asked. “I mean, at this point, everything is fair game.”