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Melania Trump undergoes kidney procedure

The White House says First Lady Melania Trump underwent a surgical procedure at Walter Reed today for a benign kidney condition.

Posted: May 15, 2018 5:58 PM
Updated: May 15, 2018 5:58 PM

What's wrong with Melania's kidneys?

Since it was reported Monday that First Lady Melania Trump went in for a kidney procedure at Walter Reed Medical Center, news outlets have sought, fairly desperately, to answer that very question. A better question to consider might be: What business is it of yours?

The White House released what it deemed the necessary information on the matter: That the kidney condition was benign and treated with an embolization procedure that was successful. And that Mrs. Trump is expected to recover after a short stay in the hospital.

Apparently, that's not enough.

The news touched off a torrent of speculation aimed at filling in the missing pieces of the story: commentary from doctors (who are not Melania's) across the country offering thoughts on what the "condition" could be, HIPAA laws be damned, (the likely culprit, it seems: a non-cancerous growth called an angiomyolipoma), as well as in-depth reports on what an embolization entails, how kidney abnormalities are found, and who's at risk.

Enough, then; it's time to get a grip, America, and allow this woman the bodily autonomy to keep her medical issues to herself. In an earlier time we might have referred to this as "privacy."

It is understandable why we might feel entitled in some way to know about Mrs. Trump's health: we're a nosy culture -- the nosiest. But even more than that, we've spent nearly 18 months wanting more from her; more participation, more visibility, more insight into her thinking.

Recall, however, that we are talking about Melania Trump, who has conducted herself from the start of her tenure in the White House as an exceedingly private person.

She is not Betty Ford, the first lady who helped many when she made the decision to go public with news of her breast cancer in 1974 and later her drug dependency -- and was an example of one unafraid to reveal personal details of herself and her health (but let's keep in mind that while Betty Ford chose to reveal her alcoholism, she certainly waited longer than 24 hours to do so).

Nor is she among the first ladies who have conditioned us to expect them to use their position for something significant -- Nancy Reagan with her "Just Say No" campaign, or Michelle Obama and her fight against childhood obesity, for example.

She is a different kind of first lady. After refusing to move to the White House for her husband's first five months in office, Melania Trump kept a low profile, making few public appearances and giving even fewer interviews.

Which, of course, should be OK. Melania is not required to be a particular version of first lady just because the American people want her to be. She wasn't the one who ran for office. Many, including unofficial White House biographer Michael Wolff, have suggested that Melania never wanted the gig, that election night found her in "tears -- and not of joy."

Despite this, there is some indication that she is finding her voice. She has been less and less subtle at swatting away her husband's attempts at hand-holding. She recently announced her official cause as first lady, an initiative to teach kids about kindness on social media, a move some have seen as a dig at her husband's behavior.

As she grows more comfortable in her role, and the spotlight, perhaps Melania will reveal the nature of this medical procedure, or other struggles -- in time.

Or she won't -- and that's OK, too.

The fact is, if we want Melania to keep showing up, we need to afford her the room and respect to do so at her own pace and in her own time. Rummaging through her medical files isn't the way to get to know this woman. Who among us would want this?

And as far as information we should be demanding from this presidency, a full explanation of the first lady's kidney growth should be pretty low on the list.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 612701

Reported Deaths: 7761
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1270801803
Ramsey53350911
Dakota47466477
Anoka43482465
Washington27810296
Stearns22764227
St. Louis18353320
Scott17763139
Wright16615153
Olmsted13587104
Sherburne1218596
Carver1080349
Clay830792
Rice8300112
Blue Earth772844
Crow Wing691799
Kandiyohi673185
Chisago629955
Otter Tail592687
Benton588298
Goodhue487674
Douglas480881
Mower478834
Winona466452
Itasca463968
Isanti447567
McLeod436661
Morrison429562
Beltrami411863
Nobles411750
Steele401819
Polk391372
Becker390057
Lyon366454
Carlton357158
Freeborn353634
Pine338123
Nicollet335145
Mille Lacs316856
Brown309340
Le Sueur301228
Todd289633
Cass289133
Meeker267644
Waseca241823
Martin237633
Roseau212921
Wabasha20883
Hubbard198941
Dodge19173
Renville184246
Redwood178941
Houston176516
Cottonwood168224
Wadena165323
Fillmore160510
Faribault157820
Chippewa154438
Pennington154120
Kanabec148128
Sibley147710
Aitkin140237
Watonwan13629
Rock129919
Jackson123212
Pipestone117326
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Pope11416
Murray107710
Swift107718
Koochiching96919
Stevens92711
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Marshall89017
Lake85121
Wilkin84613
Lac qui Parle76222
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Grant5958
Lincoln5873
Mahnomen5669
Norman5519
Kittson49222
Unassigned49093
Red Lake4037
Traverse3835
Lake of the Woods3504
Cook1740

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 376815

Reported Deaths: 6122
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk59215646
Linn21567342
Scott20530250
Black Hawk16850320
Woodbury15378230
Johnson1479586
Dubuque13627215
Dallas1150699
Pottawattamie11393177
Story1092548
Warren594392
Clinton565894
Cerro Gordo564898
Webster546397
Sioux520574
Muscatine4956106
Marshall493679
Des Moines481776
Jasper454273
Wapello4402124
Buena Vista432340
Plymouth405782
Lee396958
Marion372378
Henry301737
Jones301357
Bremer294663
Carroll287252
Boone273735
Crawford273541
Benton264255
Washington261051
Dickinson251145
Mahaska235151
Jackson225943
Kossuth222166
Clay217927
Tama213872
Delaware213343
Winneshiek201337
Buchanan197834
Page195722
Cedar194323
Hardin192544
Wright191240
Hamilton189251
Fayette188943
Harrison182873
Clayton173258
Butler169135
Madison168019
Floyd165242
Mills164724
Cherokee162238
Lyon161241
Poweshiek159836
Allamakee156452
Hancock154034
Iowa149124
Winnebago147031
Calhoun144813
Cass142155
Grundy139733
Emmet137341
Jefferson135535
Sac133320
Shelby132238
Louisa130749
Union129535
Franklin129223
Appanoose128749
Mitchell127343
Chickasaw126017
Humboldt126026
Guthrie125332
Palo Alto115224
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Clarke102624
Monroe101533
Keokuk100432
Ida93735
Adair90132
Davis88525
Pocahontas87022
Monona86731
Greene80011
Osceola79517
Lucas78323
Worth7648
Taylor67112
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