Melania Trump suffers a six-point drop in approval ratings following surgery absence, poll shows

A new CNN poll shows that First Lady Melania Trump approval rating has dropped by six points. 51 percent of Americans now view her in a favorable light, down from 57 percent in May

                            Melania Trump suffers a six-point drop in approval ratings following surgery absence, poll shows
Melania Trump (Source:Getty Images)

After spending a month away from the media spotlight following a kidney procedure, First Lady Melania Trump suffered a six-point drop in her approval rating, according to a new poll conducted by CNN. The poll showed that Melania fell from 57 percent to 51 in her approval rating, while her unfavorable rating is up by 2 percent, from 27 last month to 29 percent. Melania's kidney procedure at Walter Reed Military Medical Center, which took place on May 14, kept her away from the public view for 25 days. The current survey was conducted one month after the surgery, from June 14 to 17.

Since January, the First Lady's poll numbers had climbed 10 points, from 47 percent to 57 percent, according to her favorability numbers put forth by CNN in early May. Melania had been a highly visible personality in the White House prior to the kidney procedure. In April, she hosted her first state dinner and announced 'Be Best', her signature policy issue, four days before her surgery, in the Rose Garden.

US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump on June 6, 2018, in Washington, DC (Getty Images)

The poll shows that out of the 51 percent who responded positively towards the First Lady, most were white, Republican males who were staunch supporters of President Donald Trump. Both sexes, splitting 56 percent men to 46 percent women, are also a little over middle-aged — between the ages of 50 and 64 years. That being said, Melania is seen way more favorably than her husband, President Trump, with a significant difference of 11 points, according to the poll.

CNN found that Donald Trump's approval rating is at 40 percent — two points down from the numbers in May. Even among Democrats, albeit unsurprisingly, the First Lady has a higher approval rating than President Trump, with 29 percent of people who identify as Democrat supporting her and only 10 percent approving of her husband. Melania made a low-key public appearance in June at the White House while hosting Gold Star families, in what was her first post-surgery event that was closed to the press.

An exclusive photo of the First Lady obtained by Daily Mail showed her looking well and hot to trot, donning a black dress and sporting her signature stilettos at the event. A few days later, Melania joined the president at a hurricane preparedness briefing at FEMA.

Then, the First Lady appeared to break with President Trump's "zero tolerance" border policy on illegal immigrants crossing into the United States, with their children and other family members, on Sunday.

In a statement to Daily Mail and other publications, Melania's spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, said that "Mrs Trump hates to see children separated from their families and hopes both sides of the aisle can finally come together to achieve successful immigration reform."

"She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart."

The First Lady joined her husband to greet King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain at the White House Tuesday afternoon. Melania has also been working on the annual congressional picnic on the South Lawn which is scheduled to take place on Thursday, according to the First Lady's office. Ever since Melania underwent an operation on her kidney on May 14, speculation about her situation and well-being has been rife across social media.

Queen Letizia of Spain, King Felipe VI of Spain, US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump sit during a meeting at The White House on June 19 (Getty Images)

According to reports from her office, the First Lady had to go through an embolization procedure, most likely to remove a cyst from her kidney, which was benign and non-cancerous.

Following the surgery, Melania spent a week recuperating at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. After returning to the White House on May 19, she again went missing from the media eye for 25 days. Her office claimed that she was working, although no photos pertaining to her engagements were released to the press.

A CNBC reporter tweeted at the time: "Not that this will deter the conspiracy theorists, but I saw the First Lady walking with her aides in the West Wing yesterday afternoon." The 48-year-old prodded the media for speculating about her whereabouts with a tweet on May 30.

"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!"

Many conspiracy theories were hatched due to the First Lady's long absence from the public view. The White House had to swat down some outrageous claims, including one which held that she wasn't even in the White House anymore.

A source reported that Melania could not be seen in public primarily due to her mother, Amalija Knavs, who is suffering from an undisclosed illness, according to blog Showbiz411.

Another source told the gossip website, "She's taking care of her mother, who is battling a pretty serious illness. They're all at Bedminster," the source said. "Melania, her parents, Barron when he's not in school. She's (Melania) not in the White House."

However, the blog's claims were struck down immediately by the office of the First Lady, who said it was fake news. "Everything about that blog is false and incorrect," Grisham clarified.