Where’s Melania? Not at Trump First Debate vs Biden

Celebrity Sightings In New York - June 21, 2024

Melania Trump is seen leaving Trump Tower on June 21, 2024.
Photo: GC Images

Melania Trump has been so conspicuously absent from Donald Trump’s 2024 campaign events and legal proceedings that people have taken to shouting “Where’s Melania?” at the former president both online and in real life. But refusing to “stand by your man” after he’s convicted of crimes related to paying hush money to a porn star is quite different from skipping one of only two 2024 presidential debates. Melania wouldn’t skip her husband’s debate with Joe Biden on Thursday night — right?

Well, apparently she would! The first sign that Melania might sit out the CNN debate came on Thursday afternoon, when Trump press secretary Karoline Leavitt repeatedly refused to say if the former First Lady was flying with her husband to Atlanta. “No specific names to read out to you on who’s on that flight,” Leavitt told NBC News. “But you will find out very soon when they land!”

When Trump disembarked at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport around 5:30 p.m., Melania was not by his side.

We don’t know for sure that Melania isn’t in Atlanta — though CNN did run the chyron “MELANIA TRUMP NOT ATTENDING DEBATE” about half an hour before the event started. Theoretically, Melania could have driven up from Mar-a-Lago or snuck off the plane in a janitor’s cart like Taylor Swift at the Eras Tour. But a surprise appearance seems unlikely at this point. There will be no audience at the debate, so if Melania wanted to show her support for her husband’s campaign exiting the plane by his side may have been her only opportunity.

First Lady Jill Biden was spotted arriving in Atlanta with President Biden on Thursday afternoon. She then made a stop at a Biden-Harris fundraising retreat in downtown Atlanta, where she hyped up the crowd. “We’re almost there. I know Joe’s ready to go,” she said. “He’s prepared; he’s confident. You’ve all seen him today. You know what a great debater he is.” She’ll watch the debate from a green room with Biden’s advisers.

There will be at least one Trump family member at the debate, but she won’t be any comfort to the former president. The New York Times reported that his estranged niece, Mary Trump, will be working the spin room on behalf of the Biden campaign.

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