Melania Trump, Traveling Again Without Her Husband, Emerges at State of the Union


First Lady Melania Trump at the State of the Union on Tuesday.

Doug Mills/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Americans are usually eager to see what the first lady will be wearing to the president’s State of the Union address, how she will greet attendees and which guests she has invited to sit near her to watch the speech.

Rarely is there a question about whether she will show up at all.

In the end — spoiler alert — Melania Trump attended President Trump’s first such address on Tuesday night. She entered to a loud round of applause. Fresh from Palm Beach, she sported a tan. She flashed a wide smile.

And, for the record, she wore Dior.

It was a high-profile resurfacing for a notoriously private first lady who in recent weeks has stayed largely out of sight. Her recent absence from public life was said to have been caused, in part, by anger over reports that the porn star Stormy Daniels was paid $130,000 just before the 2016 election to keep quiet about an affair she had had a decade earlier with Mr. Trump.

But Mrs. Trump, unlike other first ladies, did not travel with her husband along the protester-studded route to the speech.

Mrs. Trump’s cream pantsuit stood out in a sea of black suits and blue ties. Those trying to read the tea leaves on her choice of dress would have two telling options: Her suit was close to the white color and style chosen last year by women in the Democratic Party, who wore it in a salute to suffragists during Mr. Trump’s first speech to a joint session Congress. (It was also a color favored by his campaign opponent, Hillary Clinton, in public appearances.) More recently, musicians wore white to this year’s Grammys in a nod to the “Time’s Up” movement.

Transcript: Trump’s First State of the Union Speech, Annotated

New York Times reporters analyze the 45th president’s prepared remarks.

Or maybe cream just looks good against a tan.

The first lady’s decision to travel to the Capitol without Mr. Trump was a move that the White House chalked up to her desire to spend more one-on-one time with her guests at the speech. They included a fire prevention technician who saved 62 children and summer camp staff members from a wildfire last summer and an aviation electronics technician in the Coast Guard who rescued dozens of people from hurricane ruins.

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