US First Lady Melania Trump has been forced to cancel her return to the campaign trail due to a lingering symptom of the coronavirus.
It would have been her first rally since June of last year.
But on the cusp of the trip, Mrs Trump’s Chief of Staff Stephanie Grisham issued a statement saying the First Lady had decided not to attend.
“Mrs Trump continues to feel better every day following her recovery from COVID-19, but with a lingering cough, and out of an abundance of caution, she will not be travelling today,” Ms Grisham said.
On October 14, Mrs Trump published a candid account of her struggle with the virus on the official White House website, revealing her son Barron had also been infected.
“Luckily he is a strong teenager and exhibited no symptoms. In one way I was glad the three of us went through this at the same time so we could take care of one another and spend time together. He has since tested negative,” she wrote.
“I was very fortunate as my diagnosis came with minimal symptoms, though they hit me all at once and it seemed to be a roller coaster of symptoms in the days after. I experienced body aches, a cough and headaches, and felt extremely tired most of the time.
“I chose to go a more natural route in terms of medicine, opting more for vitamins and healthy food. We had wonderful caretakers around us and we will be forever grateful for the medical care and professional discretion we received from Dr Conley (the White House physician) and his team.
“It was an unfamiliar feeling for me to be the patient instead of a person trying to encourage our nation to stay healthy and safe. It was me being taken care of now, and getting first-hand experience with all that COVID-19 can do.
“As the patient, and the person benefiting from so much medical support, I found myself even more grateful and in awe of caretakers and first responders everywhere. To the medical staff and the residence staff who have been taking care of our family – thank you doesn’t say enough.”
Mrs Trump said her recovery from the illness had given her “a lot of time to reflect”.
“When my husband was taken to Walter Reed as a precaution, I spent much of my time reflecting on my family. I also thought about the hundreds of thousands of people across our country who have been impacted by this illness that infects people with no discrimination. We are in unprecedented times – and with the election fast approaching, it has been easy to get caught up in so much negative energy,” she explained.
“It also cheered me to think of all the people I have met across our country and the world, and the goodness and compassion that exists if you seek it out.
“Our country has overcome many hardships and much adversity, and it is my hope COVID-19 will be another obstacle we will be able to tell future generations we overcame, and learned from in the process.”
The First Lady encouraged Americans to “live the healthiest life they can”.
“A balanced diet, fresh air, and vitamins really are vital to keep our bodies healthy. For your complete wellbeing, compassion and humility are just as important in keeping our minds strong,” Mrs Trump said.
“For me personally, the most impactful part of my recovery was the opportunity to reflect on many things – family, friendships, my work, and staying true to who you are.
“I am happy to report that I have tested negative and hope to resume my duties as soon as I can. Along with this good news, I want people to know that I understand just how fortunate my family is to have received the kind of care that we did.
“If you are sick, or if you have a loved one who is sick, I am thinking of you and will be thinking of you every day. I pray for our country and I pray for everyone who is grappling with COVID-19 and any other illnesses or challenges.
“Thank you to everyone who reached out, and offered well wishes and prayers for our family. You remain in ours as well.”
Her lengthy statement struck a rather different tone from her husband, who returned from his three-day stint at Walter Reed Medical Centre urging Americans not to let the virus dominate their lives.
“I learned so much about coronavirus,” he said of his own diagnosis.
“And one thing that’s for certain. Don’t let it dominate you. Don’t be afraid of it. You’re going to beat it. We have the best medical equipment, we have the best medicines, all developed recently. And you’re going to beat it.
“I went, I didn’t feel so good. And two days ago – I could have left two days ago. Two days ago I felt great, like, better than I’ve felt in a long time. As I said just recently, better than 20 years ago.
“Don’t let it dominate. Don’t let it take over your lives. Don’t let that happen. We have the greatest country in the world. We’re going back, we’re going back to work. We’re going to be out front.
“As your leader, I had to do that. I knew there’s danger to it, but I had to do it. I stood out front, I led. Nobody that’s a leader would not do what I did. And I know there’s a risk, there’s a danger, but that’s OK.
“But now I’m better, and maybe I’m immune. But don’t let it dominate your lives. Get out there, be careful. We have the best medicines in the world.
“The vaccines are coming momentarily. Thank you very much.”
Mrs Trump is not a frequent presence at political events, but she did deliver a well-received speech singing the President’s praises during the Republican National Convention in August.