US President Donald Trump has lashed out at media reports about Melania Trump’s rare public appearances.
“The Fake News Media has been so unfair, and vicious, to my wife,” he tweeted on Wednesday, dismissing suggestions of a “facelift” or “abuse”.
On Wednesday Mrs Trump made her first media appearance in weeks at a hurricane briefing with Mr Trump.
Last month she under went surgery and was in hospital for five days for a “benign kidney condition”.
“She is doing great,” Mr Trump said during the briefing at the headquarters of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to discuss hurricane season preparations.
“She went through a little rough patch, but she’s doing great and we’re very proud of her,” he told members of the presidential cabinet as she sat by his side.
“The people of our country love you, so thank you, honey,” he told her.
Mrs Trump did not speak while reporters were in the room, and wore a tan trench coat during her appearance.
On Monday, she sat beside her husband at a private White House event for Gold Star families – parents of slain soldiers – but members of the media were not invited.
In a pair of tweets earlier on Wednesday, Mr Trump railed against ongoing media speculation about Mrs Trump’s whereabouts.
He later said “four reporters” had spotted Mrs Trump at the White House last week “walking merrily along to a meeting”.
But he said they did not report the “sighting because it would hurt the sick narrative that she was living in a different part of the world, was really ill, or whatever”.
MSNBC co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinksi, who are engaged, responded with arch tweets alluding to Mr Trump’s taunting post last summer that Ms Brzezinksi was “bleeding badly from a face-lift” during a visit to his Florida golf retreat.
Last week, Mrs Trump’s Twitter account addressed the rumours around her nearly-month long disappearance.
Wild theories have circulated online, including that Mrs Trump had moved back to New York with their son, Barron, or that she was co-operating with special counsel Robert Mueller.
On Sunday, the first lady’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, confirmed that Mrs Trump would not be accompanying her husband to the G7 summit in Canada this week or the scheduled landmark North Korea nuclear summit in Singapore on 12 June.