WASHINGTON – Lunch was on the first lady during the coronavirus pandemic.
The White House delivered lunch and possibly some reassurance to people in the nation's capital who could use a helping of both. Melania Trump made some of the deliveries herself in her first public appearances in a face mask.
Mrs. Trump had been making regular visits to schools, hospitals and other venues to promote her youth welfare initiative, “ Be Best. ” But after the pandemic forced classrooms to close and hospitals to bar visitors, it appears she turned to the White House kitchens for inspiration.
The first lady showed up unannounced to visit with District of Columbia firefighters and emergency medical services personnel last week. She brought White House-prepared boxed lunches, tote bags, reusable face masks and hand sanitizer, her office said. She also met with police officers.
The courtesy call came as President Donald Trump has made it clear that he stands with police and other law enforcement amid the nationwide calls for racial justice and changes to policing sparked by the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police.
She echoed her husband's message.
“The president and I will continue to support our dedicated firefighters, police members, EMS personnel and other critical first responders who put their lives at risk each day in order to keep our neighborhoods safe,” Mrs. Trump said afterward in a written statement.
A week earlier, the first lady slipped out of the White House on a surprise visit to deliver lunches, tote bags and other unspecified items to The Mary Elizabeth House, her office said. The center provides comprehensive family support to single mothers and their children.
Video shared on her Twitter and Facebook accounts show the first lady in a yard at The Mary Elizabeth House and speaking through a face mask with women, some holding young children. She's also seen handing out lunch boxes stamped with “Be Best,” and tote bags.
It was the first public glimpse of the first lady in a face covering, in keeping with federal and local coronavirus guidelines. Mrs. Trump has offered the public a more consistent message about mask-wearing than the president, who flouted the guidelines before allowing himself to be seen wearing a mask in public on a visit earlier this month to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
In May, the first lady sent White House executive chef Cris Comerford, pastry chef Susie Morrison and other staff to deliver 150 boxed meals of chicken macaroni and cheese and broccoli florets to patients and staff at Children's Inn at the National Institutes of Health.
She has spent every Valentine’s Day since 2018 doing arts and crafts with children who stay at the inn while they receive medical treatment.
In an accompanying letter addressed to her “dear friends” at the inn, Mrs. Trump said the meals were a “token of my sincere gratitude for your tireless work.”
The lunch boxes were delivered cold, but with “perfect reheating instructions,” Javin Smith, the program operations manager at Children's Inn, said in an email through a spokesperson.
Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap