The West Wing has been churning out news non-stop since President Donald Trump took office, but the East Wing has quite literally remained dark.
It’s been 12 days since the last public sighting of first lady Melania Trump, who had been planning on splitting her time between Washington and New York, where the couple’s son, Barron, is completing the school year.
On January 21, she went to the post-inauguration multi-faith prayer service at Washington’s National Cathedral — her last public appearance. The next day, which coincided with the couple’s 12th wedding anniversary, Melania Trump returned to New York City, Barron in tow.
A spokeswoman for the first lady told CNN Trump would be returning to Trump Tower — temporarily.
“The first lady thanks everyone for their support and a beautiful welcome to Washington. She is returning to New York in advance of the school week and will be splitting her time between Washington and New York for the next few weeks,” the spokeswoman said.
She has not been back to DC since.
Despite this, a spokeswoman for the first lady knocked down recent reports that the Melania Trump would not be moving to Washington at all.
“That report is not true,” the spokeswoman said.
Without a full-time first lady, the typical duties of that part of the White House machine are at a veritable standstill. Not only has Melania Trump not hired a staff, she hasn’t formally announced a platform of official causes, a social schedule of events, nor her Washington calendar.
On Monday night, paparazzi caught the first lady and Barron “running errands” in New York City. Melania Trump, in a cream-colored coat and signature five-inch high heels, and Barron, were ferried around Manhattan by a Secret Service detail.
During the transition, the President told reporters said his wife and youngest son would join him “very soon. Right after he finishes school.”
And in an interview with New York Times last week, Trump said that Melania and Barron, 10, would be at the White House on weekends.
The White House declined a CNN request for comment on the first lady’s whereabouts. But sources inside Pennsylvania Avenue said Melania Trump hasn’t been seen at the White House since inaugural weekend.
Also missing? The first lady’s staff.
With spots open for at least 20-30 East Wing positions — from the social office to the communications team and public outreach — there have been zero officials hires.
Melania Trump has been actively been conducting interviews for staffing posts over the past several weeks, though, and some names have been floated.
Melania Trump made few public appearances on the campaign trail. She did deliver a high-profile speech at the Republican National Convention in August, a performance quickly enveloped in controversy when it was discovered she plagiarized part of her speech from Michelle Obama.
But her speech also provided a rare insight into her relationship with the President: “He is tough when he has to be, but he is also kind and fair and caring. This kindness is not always noted, but it is there for all to see. That is one reason I fell in love with him to begin with,” she had said in Cleveland.
She also defended her husband to CNN’s Anderson Cooper when the Access Hollywood tapes were released, calling it “boy talk.”
“I said to my husband that, you know, the language was inappropriate. It’s not acceptable. And I was surprised, because that is not the man that I know,” she said in October. “I accept his apology. I hope the American people will accept it as well. And