President Donald Trump revealed new details Friday morning about the first lady Melania Trump's medical procedure last month, calling it an "operation," a word that previously had not been associated with on-the-record comments about Trump's 5-night stay at Walter Reed Military Medical Center.
"First lady's great, right there," said Trump, who was answering questions from the South Lawn of the White House, en route to the G7 Summit. He pointed to the upper windows of the White House. "She wanted to go," said Trump of his wife, who has been fiercely private about her health and is not going on the trip.
"Can't fly for one month, the doctors say," the President said. "She had a big operation, that was close to a 4-hour operation. And she's doing great."
When the first lady checked in to Walter Reed on May 14, her spokeswoman said in a statement that she had an "embolization procedure for a benign kidney condition." Following the procedure, which the statement said was successful, Trump remained in the hospital for several days, remaining out of sight from the public eye for another three weeks, sparking questions about the veracity of description of her procedure.
Medical professionals who were not associated with Trump's treatment opined what her office described could have been a much simpler recovery. Out of concern for her privacy, Stephanie Grisham, Trump's communications director, forcefully pushed back on speculation, telling CNN at the time, "I am not going to expand beyond the statement I put out. The First Lady is in good spirits and she is resting. There are HIPAA laws to consider, but she also deserves personal privacy."
The President's revelation of the length and severity of what he described as Melania Trump's "operation," paints the embolization procedure as considerably more complex and serious than initially described.
In a statement issued Friday after the President's remarks, Grisham stood by her previous comments.
"The statement I put out on May 14 was correct. Mrs. Trump had a successful embolization procedure. She cannot travel internationally yet, and is doing great," Grisham said.