Why Melania Trump's kidneys are not your business

What's wrong with Melania's kidneys?Since it was reported Monday that First Lady Melania Trump went in for a k...

Posted: May 16, 2018 8:44 AM
Updated: May 16, 2018 8:44 AM

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.

Terre Haute
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 79°
Robinson
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 95°
Indianapolis
Broken Clouds
84° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 89°
Rockville
Scattered Clouds
88° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 93°
Casey
Clear
92° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 94°
Brazil
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 79°
Marshall
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 79°
Hot and humid!
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 147865

Reported Deaths: 7026
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook927814630
Lake10007423
DuPage9364475
Kane7877275
Will6957320
Winnebago310996
McHenry212097
St. Clair2037137
Kankakee131165
Rock Island106129
Madison104269
Kendall100021
Champaign96015
Boone61021
DeKalb58220
Peoria56728
Sangamon45532
Jackson34019
Randolph2887
McLean28513
Stephenson2785
Ogle2754
Clinton24217
Macon23622
LaSalle22817
Union19619
Whiteside19615
Coles17817
Grundy1775
Iroquois1645
Tazewell1528
Knox1470
Warren1450
Monroe13713
Cass1367
Williamson1334
Adams1311
Morgan1303
Jefferson10717
Lee1032
McDonough10215
Henry981
Pulaski790
Vermilion792
Marion700
Macoupin583
Perry581
Douglas540
Unassigned530
Livingston522
Montgomery491
Christian474
Jasper477
Jo Daviess471
Ford401
Woodford362
Jersey351
Franklin310
Bureau302
Menard250
Mercer250
Fayette233
Mason230
Wabash230
Alexander220
Carroll212
Washington210
Johnson200
Piatt200
Effingham191
Hancock191
Moultrie190
Shelby191
Crawford180
Logan180
Cumberland170
Bond161
Clark150
Fulton150
Massac150
Wayne141
Schuyler130
De Witt120
Marshall110
Brown100
Edgar100
Greene90
Saline90
Henderson80
White80
Lawrence70
Hamilton60
Richland40
Stark40
Gallatin30
Out of IL30
Pike30
Clay20
Edwards20
Calhoun10
Hardin10
Pope10
Putnam10
Scott10

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 48524

Reported Deaths: 2698
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11682684
Lake5180242
Elkhart330146
Allen2798132
St. Joseph196466
Cass16389
Hamilton1563101
Hendricks1410100
Johnson1288118
Porter73237
Tippecanoe7268
Madison65964
Clark65544
Bartholomew58644
LaPorte58026
Howard57757
Kosciusko5494
Vanderburgh5486
Marshall4904
Noble48228
Jackson4723
LaGrange4709
Hancock45035
Boone44543
Delaware44550
Shelby42625
Floyd38144
Morgan32931
Monroe30028
Grant29526
Montgomery29420
Clinton2892
Henry27415
Dubois2736
White26510
Decatur25032
Lawrence24625
Dearborn23823
Vigo2358
Harrison21822
Warrick21829
Unassigned193193
Greene18932
Miami1832
Jennings17611
Putnam1698
DeKalb1624
Scott1627
Daviess14317
Wayne1406
Orange13623
Perry1299
Steuben1292
Franklin1248
Jasper1212
Ripley1177
Wabash1122
Carroll1102
Fayette997
Newton9810
Starke933
Whitley925
Gibson812
Huntington812
Randolph794
Wells731
Fulton721
Jefferson722
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox640
Clay604
Rush583
Adams501
Owen491
Benton480
Sullivan451
Posey420
Brown391
Spencer381
Blackford372
Crawford320
Fountain322
Tipton321
Switzerland270
Parke230
Martin220
Ohio170
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110