First Lady Melania Trump has not been seen in public for nearly a month, and speculation about her whereabouts has reached a fever pitch both on the internet and in the national media. The official story is that she received treatment for a kidney condition and has been recovering since May 14, but in the absence of a confirmed Melania sighting, conspiracy theorists have been rushing in to fill the void. Late Sunday, Melania Trump’s spokeswoman told CNN that the first lady would be attending a White House event on Monday evening, but did not elaborate further on where she’s been in the meantime. The public demands answers, and whenever the public demands answers, the public also demands articles that purport to provide those answers, and the media purports to provide the articles that purport to provide the answers the public purportedly demanded someone purport to provide. So it is with Melania Trump, purportedly.
After a months-long, expense-report-rich investigation—preemptively begun long before Melania disappeared in anticipation of a situation much like this one—Slate can exclusively report that we have been unable to determine where Melania is, why she is there, what she is doing, or when she might be coming back. However, Slate can also exclusively report that we have determined Melania’s precise whereabouts on the evening of March 17, 2005: CNN’s Larry King Live. Flanked by as-yet-unidentified old men, the first lady answered questions about Slovenia, her marriage, and the surprising generosity of Donald Trump. Video proof is embedded above, but for those of you who need secondary confirmation because of the ever-present danger of a Melania lookalike, check out this excerpt from page B-5 of the Appleton, Wisconsin Post-Crescent, as published on March 17, 2005:
Case closed! Here’s a timeline showing the first lady’s whereabouts over the course of her disappearance, as best as Slate has been able to reconstruct them.
Melania Trump: A Timeline
• April 26, 1970 – March 16, 2005: ?????
• March 17, 2005: Melania Trump appears on CNN’s Larry King Live.
• March 18, 2005 – May 9, 2018: ?????
• May 10, 2018: Melania Trump appears with President Trump to greet Americans returning from North Korea.
• May 11, 2018 – Present Day: ?????
At press time, Slate was unable to confirm rumors that Melania Trump had fled Larry King Live to hide out on the July 29, 2005 episode of The View.