New Melania Trump mystery: She skips family Christmas photo that features Barron, Ivanka and her own dad

Melania Trump continues to keep people guessing — this time about why she didn’t join other Trump family members in a group photo that appeared to be snapped Monday in front of a Christmas tree at her husband’s private Mar-a-Lago club.

While the ever-elusive former first lady is missing from the photo, pretty much every other notable Trump family member is present, with Donald Trump in the center of the group, the Daily Mail reported. Melania Trump’s 17-year-old son, Barron, stands next to his father in the group shot, towering over him at a reported 6 feet 7 inches.

Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and their three children also appear in the photo, which is notable, considering that Trump’s oldest daughter and her husband, both former White House senior advisers, publicly distanced themselves from the 45th president in the aftermath of his 2020 election loss and the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner also are Jewish and aren’t known to celebrate Christmas themselves. The couple’s appearance at Mar-a-Lago and in the photo could signal that they are pulling behind him in his new campaign for president, as he currently is the frontrunner to become the Republican candidate in 2024, even as he fends off criminal charges in multiple jurisdictions.

Others in the photo — which was shared on Instagram Story Tuesday by Donald Trump Jr.’s fiancee Kimberly Guilfoyle — include Trump Jr. and Guilfoyle, the ex-wife of California Gov. Gavin Newsom, and Trump’s youngest daughter Tiffany Trump and her husband Michael Boulos. Eric Trump and his wife Lara Trump and their children don’t appear in the photo; perhaps they were celebrating the holidays elsewhere.

A source told Fox News Digital that Melania Trump had an important reason for missing the family photo: Her mother, Amalija Knavs, is “very sick” in the hospital, and Melania was by her side. “Melania has always been very devoted to her entire family,” the source said. “It should be no surprise that she spent this Christmas with her ailing mother.”

However, Melania Trump’s father, Viktor Knavs, managed to be at the Trump family gathering and to be included in the photo, the Daily Mail reported.

It should be no surprise that Melania Trump’s absence from the photo would spark questions about her whereabouts. Such questions have in fact become par for the course for the former model, Manhattan socialite and first lady who has become known for cultivating an air of mystery, according to her biographers and journalists who covered her.

Melania Trump also been the subject of recent reports about how or where she has been spending her time, since her public appearances have been few and far between. Reports in the Washington Post and The Telegraph say that Trump’s third wife hasn’t been seen much lately around Palm Beach’s high-end shops or restaurants, or even at Mar-a-Lago, the private members club that became her husband’s base of operations after leaving the White House.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Laurence Leamer, the author of a book on Mar-a-Lago and a longtime Palm Beach resident, said “Nobody knows where she is. It’s like a mystery. It’s certainly talked about.”

“She rarely exits Mar-a-Lago. It’s a strange, isolated life they have in that place,” Leamer also said.

Before Melania Trump became first lady, she would often be seen by Mar-a-Lago members, particularly in the club’s spa and salon, The Telegraph said. Melania Trump might go to the sauna or occasionally join her husband on the patio for dinner, but she also likes having food brought to her in the family’s living quarters, which is “right off the main hall” of the club, the Washington Post also reported. For the most part, though, she has been “conspicuously” absent from the club’s social scene, Leamer told The Telegraph, with members seeing her far less often than in the past.

Melania Trump also has been conspicuously absent from her husband’s criminal court appearances and at his 2024 campaign rallies. In fact, her decision to stay away from his campaign events has become a talking point for the 45th president’s political rivals, The Washington Post reported. In September, “Missing Melania” fliers popped up in Iowa, and an airplane flew over a college-football game, dragging a banner that read: “Where’s Melania?”