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Melania Trump travels to the Capitol without the president

First lady Melania Trump in 2017.Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press/File

WASHINGTON — First lady Melania Trump traveled to Capitol Hill separately from her husband, President Trump, ahead of Tuesday’s State of the Union speech.

That’s a change from last year, when the first couple made the trip up Pennsylvania Avenue in the same vehicle.

Mrs. Trump’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, said the first lady went early, accompanying a group of guests for the speech whose stories amplify the president’s agenda. Grisham said the first lady and Karen Pence held an ‘‘intimate meet-and-greet’’ at the Capitol for the guests.

A White House official says Mrs. Trump is expected to ride back to the White House with her husband after the speech.


Mrs. Trump hadn’t been seen in public with her husband since The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that in 2016, Trump’s lawyer paid porn star Stormy Daniels $130,000 to keep quiet about an affair she said she had with the future president.

Daniels on Tuesday issued a statement denying the affair happened.