The last time Melania Trump participated in an official event was on 10 May, when the first couple greeted three former USA prisoners who had been released from captivity in North Korea.
The White House said on Monday its policy of tough sanctions on North Korea has not changed, days after US President Donald Trump said he no longer wanted to use the phrase "maximum pressure" to describe the campaign to press North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.
The fact she has not been seen in public for more than 24 days has led to questions over whether there is something more going on than recovery from a routine procedure, with weird rumors including that she has been living with the Obamas, that she is secretly back in NY, and that she is writing a tell-all book about her husband. Her last appearance in an official capacity was on May 10, welcoming back three Americans imprisoned by North Korea.
Grisham said the Gold Star families' event is important to Mrs. Trump and has been on her calendar for some time.
"She is going to do this job her way", McBride said of Mrs. Trump.
The first lady skipped ceremonies, including a Memorial Day wreath-laying.
A spokeswoman for Melania Trump on Monday slammed a "rabid press corps" for the wanton speculation about her condition and whereabouts.
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However, the first lady's absence made her appearance all the more newsworthy.
Some have speculated she has moved back to NY or is cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller, while others offer she may be healing after some secret plastic surgery.
The first lady's absence is providing fodder to Trump critics and online conspiracy theorists.
While Grisham repeatedly denied claims that Melania was missing, the first lady herself took to Twitter to address the worry and speculation. Until Monday, May 10 was the last time the first lady had been seen publicly.
Mrs Trump, never one to obsess like her husband about media attention, has laid low before.
The first lady has been to Canada once before, travelling to Toronto for her first solo foreign trip last September for the Invictus Games, where she represented her husband and met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau and their two eldest children.
Even White House reporters are asserting very strongly that Melania was definitely there, this isn't a stitch-up at all, and Secret Service officials definitely aren't typing these tweets out themselves on the phones they confiscated at the door.
"For most of the 20th century and certainly in the 21st century, a first lady hasn't had the option of not being a public figure - regardless of unfortunate personal circumstances".
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