President Donald Trump points towards the White House balcony when asked by a reporter about first lady Melania Trump, before leaving the White House in Washington, Friday, June 8, 2018, to attend the G7 Summit in Charlevoix, Quebec, Canada.
The outing was her first public appearance in nearly a month following a kidney operation.
She was treated at Walter Reed hospital on May 14 for what aides called a "benign" kidney condition and was released on May 19.
President Trump's new characterization of the procedure as a "big operation" is the latest attempt to explain her lengthy absence from the gaze of the media.
She ended the speculation this week by making her first public appearance in almost a month, accompanying Trump to a hurricane preparedness briefing at Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Washington on Wednesday.
She had not been seen publicly for weeks until she appeared at a meeting the president held with FEMA officials on hurricane preparedness this week. "She can not travel internationally yet, and is doing great".
US reaches deal to rescue Chinese telecom company ZTE
That was a potential death blow to ZTE, which relies on USA technology for an estimated 25 to 30 percent of its components. The US had previously blocked ZTE's access to US suppliers, saying the company had violated a sanctions settlement.
In April, she represented the Trumps at former first lady Barbara Bush's funeral, rolled out her "Be Best" awareness campaign to help children, and orchestrated an elaborate state dinner for the Macrons of France.
On Monday, the first lady returned to the spotlight, attending a Gold Star family event that was closed to the press. Out of concern for her privacy, Stephanie Grisham, Trump's communications director, forcefully pushed back on speculation, telling CNN at the time, "I am not going to expand beyond the statement I put out".
In a statement after the president's comments, Grisham stood by her earlier comments. During her recovery from surgery they reported everything from near death, to facelift, to left the W.H.
Mrs. Trump did not make any public remarks at the event.