On May 24, President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrived in Belgium as part of their European tour; on May 25, the FLOTUS itinerary was overhauled, a source tells The Hollywood Reporter.
Belgium’s Queen Mathilde had set up “cultural and fashion events,” with the Delvaux handbag store, and Natan, owned by Belgian designer Edouard Vermeulen, among the destinations. The Secret Service had already swept both locations when the call came abruptly canceling the fashion stops, says the source. Why? “The administration no longer wants Melania to be making commercial visits, only appearances related to charity or children.”
Says Stephanie Grisham, special assistant to the President, director of communications: “She never canceled anything at the last minute. It is common practice for the Secret Service and an advance team to check out any stop that could potentially be on the First Lady’s schedule — that does not mean it is a confirmed stop — and in fact, she makes her schedule determinations after hearing back from those teams. Her schedule did not change at the last minute. In fact, at the time that many of the people participating in the spousal program were at the Delvaux store, the First Lady had an official meeting with Embassy personnel.”
Coincidentally, the same day of the tour, FLOTUS tweeted a thank-you to Queen Fabiola Children’s University Hospital, where she made paper flowers and met with patients. The visit followed a similar one to Bambino Gesu Children’s Hospital in Rome. Also as part of her Belgian itinerary, Melania Trump visited Fine Arts Belgium.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) May 25, 2017
June 1, 5:32 p.m. Update with White House response.
A version of this story first appeared in the May 31 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.