Melania Trump doesn’t attend the first presidential debate

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The former first lady Melania Trump chose not to accompany former President Donald Trump to the presidential debate in Atlanta, marking one of her many recent absences from her husband’s campaign events this year.

The Trump campaign ridiculed a reporter who remarked on her absence.

Contrastingly, first lady Jill Biden was present with President Biden in Atlanta for the CNN debate and watched the event from the studio. She is anticipated to accompany him to Raleigh, N.C., for a campaign event on Friday following the debate.

A Trump campaign representative did not provide immediate comment in response to a request on Thursday.

During the 2016 and 2020 election cycles, Melania Trump did accompany the former president to some past political debates. However, she has largely refrained from participating in political engagements since leaving the White House and has avoided attending recent campaign rallies.

Following Trump’s declaration of his presidential bid, the former first lady has skipped most events, including speeches at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida. She has made select public appearances, such as attending a few fundraisers in April and her son Barron Trump’s high school graduation.

Moreover, she did not attend court proceedings related to her husband’s hush money trial in New York and was absent in public alongside Trump following his conviction on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records last month.

In a February interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, Trump characterized his wife as a “private person” and anticipated her increased public involvement in the presidential campaign.

He mentioned, “It’s funny, she was a very successful model, very, very successful, and yet she was a private person. She’s going to be out a lot. Not because she likes doing it, but she likes the results. She wants to see this country really succeed. She loves the country.”

When queried in March about her potential return to the campaign trail, Melania Trump stated to a reporter: “Stay tuned.”

Josh Dawsey contributed to this report.

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