First Lady Melania Trump has been dragged online after she removed her mask while visiting immunocompromised children in hospital.

Melania Trump has an annual tradition of reading to hospitalized children at Christmas time, however things looked very different this year amid the coronavirus pandemic. The First Lady arrived at the Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C. on December 15, wearing a green Diane von Furstenberg trench coat, before reading to just two children. Little Riley Whitney, 6, and Sophia Martinez, 8, sat on the floor in front of her while other hospitalized kids watched via a live stream from their rooms.

Melania Trump removed her mask while reading to children. Image: AP

Although the two children were at least six feet away from Melania, the 50-year-old appeared to violate hospital policy by removing her black protective face mask while reading. Although she already battled COVID-19 back in October, health professionals advise people to continue taking precautions, as it’s unclear how long antibodies remain in ones’ system. The hospital’s policy stated that, “everyone must wear a mask at all times while in any Children’s National facility to prevent the spread of COVID-19.” The hospital’s spokesperson Diana Troese told CNN, “Under DC Health regulations, wearing a mask is not required when a person is giving a speech for broadcast or an audience, provided no one is within six feet of the speaker.”

The First Lady visited a children’s hospital. Image: AP

She continued, “In the case of today’s visit which was broadcast to our 325 patients, while the First Lady did remove her mask while she read a story, she was more than 12 feet away from others in our large atrium. All other people in that space were wearing masks. The remainder of her visit, she wore a mask.” While speaking to the children, Melania said it was “wonderful to be here,” adding, “This is one of my favorite events during the holiday season.”

Just last month, she sparked anger on social media after she cast her vote in Palm Beach, Florida without wearing a face mask. She looked chic in oversized sunglasses, a sleeveless dress and heels, with her hair pinned up in a loose chignon as she performed her civic duty, however there was one item missing — a mask.