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.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 52037

Reported Deaths: 2762
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion12111693
Lake5677249
Elkhart366260
Allen2971134
St. Joseph221169
Hamilton1735101
Cass16489
Hendricks1470100
Johnson1351118
Porter84938
Vanderburgh8016
Tippecanoe7859
Clark71944
Madison68164
LaPorte62928
Howard61058
Bartholomew60545
Kosciusko5844
Marshall57011
Noble52428
Boone49244
LaGrange48710
Delaware48152
Jackson4793
Hancock47436
Shelby46025
Floyd41844
Monroe36128
Morgan34431
Grant32226
Dubois3196
Henry30318
Montgomery29720
Clinton2903
White27810
Dearborn27123
Warrick26829
Vigo2618
Decatur25732
Lawrence25325
Harrison21822
Greene19932
Miami1942
Jennings17912
Putnam1748
DeKalb1694
Scott1659
Wayne1596
Daviess15117
Perry15110
Steuben1402
Orange13823
Jasper1362
Ripley1357
Franklin1288
Gibson1282
Wabash1193
Carroll1142
Starke1093
Fayette1087
Whitley1086
Newton10110
Huntington942
Jefferson872
Wells831
Randolph804
Fulton761
Jay720
Knox710
Washington681
Pulaski661
Clay645
Posey640
Rush623
Spencer591
Owen531
Benton510
Sullivan511
Adams491
Brown441
Blackford402
Fountain362
Crawford330
Tipton331
Switzerland320
Parke280
Martin260
Ohio230
Vermillion200
Warren151
Union140
Pike120
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 66853

Reported Deaths: 3064
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin12301449
Cuyahoga9359399
Hamilton7046208
Lucas3079306
Marion275539
Montgomery257936
Summit2382209
Pickaway222942
Mahoning1971239
Butler189747
Columbiana139560
Stark1244116
Lorain118970
Trumbull106678
Warren101826
Clark82010
Delaware76315
Fairfield71917
Lake62723
Tuscarawas62110
Licking60012
Medina59932
Belmont57324
Clermont5157
Miami51431
Wood51051
Portage50960
Ashtabula45244
Geauga43143
Richland3906
Allen38541
Wayne37655
Greene3659
Mercer30410
Erie30122
Holmes2625
Darke26126
Huron2602
Madison2259
Ottawa21724
Athens1921
Sandusky17615
Ross1503
Washington14720
Putnam14515
Coshocton1434
Crawford1405
Jefferson1272
Morrow1271
Hardin12512
Union1151
Auglaize1124
Muskingum1061
Preble961
Lawrence920
Clinton912
Monroe8917
Hancock871
Hocking839
Guernsey824
Scioto770
Shelby774
Williams772
Carroll713
Logan711
Ashland692
Fulton680
Wyandot665
Brown621
Fayette580
Highland581
Champaign571
Knox571
Defiance553
Van Wert491
Perry481
Seneca442
Henry370
Paulding340
Jackson310
Pike290
Adams282
Vinton232
Gallia211
Noble140
Harrison131
Meigs130
Morgan120
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 80°
Angola
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 73°
Huntington
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 73°
Decatur
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 73°
Van Wert
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 73°
Storms Late Wednesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events