In an unusual departure from the norm, Melania Trump was conspicuously absent when the Japanese Prime Minister and his wife visited Washington.
Melania’s developing role as first lady took an unconventional turn when she wasn’t in Washington to escort the wife of the visiting Japanese PM around town, a typical FLOTUS responsibility, USA Today reports.
Mrs. Trump arrived separately, possibly from New York where she is still living, and greeted the president on the tarmac, according to the White House pool report from the scene at the base.
The First Lady greet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife, Akie Abe, when they and President Trump arrived at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland to board Air Force One bound for a weekend getaway at the Trumps’ Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.
Together, all four got on the presidential jet, accompanied also by Trump’s elder daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, for the trip to Florida.
Once on board, Melania stood silently next to her husband as he answered questions from reporters on board.
However, Melania was no where to be found when Mrs. Abe visited Gallaudet University in Washington, and then had lunch with members of the committee planning the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival.
According to Keiko Morito, a press aide to Mrs. Abe, “She was on her own”.
It was another sign that Mrs. Trump, 46, will not be a first lady like her more recent predecessors.
Ivanka Trump, 35, has filled in for her stepmother at least once so far, when she accompanied her father last week to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to greet the remains of a fallen soldier.