Where Was Melania Trump? President Says She 'Went Through a Little Rough Patch'

President Donald Trump thanked his wife Melania Trump, who sat alongside him at a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) briefing on Wednesday afternoon in her first public appearance in 26 days, and said she went through "a little rough patch."

Related: Donald Trump Insists Melania Hasn't Left Him, Isn't 'Really Ill, Or Whatever'

The president mentioned his wife, who went absent after undergoing a minor kidney procedure, while paying respects to people at the meeting on hurricane preparedness at FEMA's headquarters.

"Of course we have to start with our great first lady, Melania. Thank you, Melania, she's doing great. She went through a little rough patch, but she's doing great, and we're very proud of her. She's done a fantastic job as first lady," he said, reaching out to touch her hand or arm. "The people love you, the people of our country love you. Thank you, honey."

The first lady smiled back at her husband.

Melania Trump was last seen on May 10, when she joined her husband in welcoming home three Americans who had been held hostage in North Korea and underwent the kidney procedure on May 14. The procedure was "successful," but her continued absence sparked speculation that she had left the White House for New York City and other theories.

The president slammed the media Wednesday morning over reports he considered "unfair" and "vicious" to her.

"During her recovery from surgery they reported everything from near death, to facelift, to left the W.H. (and me) for N.Y. or Virginia, to abuse. All Fake, she is doing really well!" he tweeted.

The president claimed the media did not report his wife "walking merrily" in the White House last week "because it would hurt the sick narrative that she was living in a different part of the world, was really ill, or whatever."

Melania Trump in an apparent effort to dispel rumors of her whereabouts on May 30 tweeted," I see the media is working overtime speculating where I am & what I'm doing. Rest assured, I'm here at the @WhiteHouse w my family, feeling great, & working hard on behalf of children & the American people!"

But the similarity of the tone of her tweet to those of her husband caused many social media users to doubt she was the one behind it. Melania Trump has yet to address the public since her return.