Melania’s first public appearance in weeks
First lady Melania Trump's first appearance since the US election was a sad affair.
It was November 11 and the President's wife wore a tweed jacket and a sombre look on her face as she arrived for a Veteran's Day ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.
Today, she beamed as she celebrated the arrival of the annual White House Christmas tree. She did so alone, without President Trump or their son, Barron Trump, who have attended the event every year but were nowhere to be seen this time around.
The first lady stood by the 18-foot Fraser fir tree - which had been harvested from a farm in West Virginia - outside the North Portico of the White House around midday on Monday.
A reporter shouted an inquiry about the wellbeing of the president but the New York Post reports Melania ignored the question and told reporters simply: "Merry Christmas."
The annual celebration had all the usual charm - two large Clydesdale horses transported the tree down the White House's northern driveway as a military band played "O Tannenbaum" and "Hark the Herald Angels Sing".
The Post reports the president is expected to partake in a different holiday tradition this week: the lighthearted pardoning of turkeys before Thanksgiving.
Inside the White House, Mr Trump continues to claim victory in the US election but various legal challengers in states where he lost the count have failed.
"In certain swing states, there were more votes than people who voted, and in big numbers," he tweeted on Monday.
"Does that not really matter? Stopping Poll Watchers, voting for unsuspecting people, fake ballots and so much more. Such egregious conduct. We will win!"
In an extraordinary step of distancing himself from one of the top lawyers trying to keep him in power over the weekend, he effectively dumped Sidney Powell.
The lawyer had been one of the most high-profile of the President's supporters and also the most willing to posit bizarre theories as to why the election had been lost including that a long dead dictator had rigged voting machines.
According to the Washington Post, one campaign official said "she was too crazy even for the President".
A Trump campaign statement said Ms Powell was "on her own". She replied that she "understood" the statement but would carry on the legal campaign regardless.
The definitive Venn Diagram of troubled presidencies. pic.twitter.com/LehTdpjQsu— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) November 9, 2020
Mr Trump is set to join just a handful of one-term presidents when President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January.
The Democrat has promised to unite Americans despite their political leanings and to bring the coronavirus - which has seen cases spike in almost every state in recent weeks - back under control.
The First family has other problems to consider, too. Donald Trump Jr. has been diagnosed with COVID-19 - a month after his father was treated for the virus - but the President says his son is doing "very well" and showing no symptoms.
Originally published as Melania's first public appearance in weeks