Stephen Colbert returned from a weeklong vacation this week. But as of Monday afternoon, first lady Melania Trump was still nowhere to be seen.
“As of the time we are taping this show right now, the first lady has not been seen in public for 25 days,” the Late Show host said on his first show back. “I’m not surprised. It took that Shawshank guy years to tunnel out.”
Colbert explained to viewers that Melania Trump had surgery for what the White House called a “benign kidney condition” early last month. “They say she is perfectly fine and I certainly hope that’s true,” he said. “And they claim she came home to the White House. Trump even welcomed her back in a tweet in which he accidentally called her ‘Melanie.’ Awkward.”
“Could you imagine if he called her the wrong name in bed?” he asked. “She might hear it from down the hall.”
After reading the tweet @FLOTUS sent last week to help tamp down speculation about her whereabouts—in Donald Trump’s voice—Colbert said he doubts she even wrote the message. “For one thing, Michelle Obama never said it in a speech,” he noted.
“This is just weird,” Colbert added. “We’re used to our first ladies being out and about. Nancy Reagan was always out there telling kids to ‘just say no.’ Michelle Obama would sometimes just show up in people’s living rooms and tell them to drop and give her 20.”
On Monday evening, the first lady did make her first public appearance in more than three weeks at a ceremony for Gold Star families. But as Colbert pointed out, the event was closed to the press and photographers, so we will have to take the White House’s word for it. According to one person in the room, the president reportedly joked about the mystery, asking, “Did she leave him?”