Melania Trump Photos from Alabama Tornado Site Visit Reignite Conspiracy Theories of Body Double
If you thought you’d heard the last of the #FakeMelania conspiracy theory, think again. The First Lady was pictured looking slightly different on a recent trip, prompting social media users to revisit the absurd notion that she uses a body double.
Rumors of a “Fake Melania” first went rife in 2017, but even though the White House debunked them at the time, it appears many members of the public still need convincing.
AN INNOCENT PHOTO-MOMENT
On Friday, March 8, President Donald Trump, 72, and Melania, 48, visited the white crosses erected in honor of the memory of the 23 lives that were lost in the deadly Alabama tornadoes.
While there, the First Lady was pictured holding hands and standing side-by-side with the president in a double-breasted blazer and burgundy pants. Most of her face was obscured by a large pair of sunglasses and Melania appeared shorter than usual.
REVISITING THE #FAKEMELANIA THEORY
Netizens immediately pointed out that the woman beside the president bears no resemblance to his wife and again brought up the claims of a double being hired to replace Melania whenever she decides to be away from her husband.
The allegations seem to have been fueled by the persistent belief that Melania is not happy in her marriage and often chooses to stay away from her husband.
The lack of affectionate displays between the Trumps, Melania’s perceived stoicism, the president’s several alleged sexual indiscretions, and the fact that they sleep in separate bedrooms, are some of the factors that possibly support it as well.
TWITTER BUZZ ERUPTS
As always, Twitter users had a field day dissecting and pointing out the differences between Melania and her alleged doppelganger.
“The recasting of Melania is the worst I've seen since they recast Aunt Viv in Fresh Prince,” joked one user.
“I clicked on #FakeMelania against my better judgement, and I have to say that it DOES NOT look like Melania,” echoed another.
A third tweeter seemed to believe in the #FakeMelania theory because this particular woman was “walking and waving without Melania’s signature stiffness,” while a fourth suggested that the “chin shape” gave the First Lady away.
The controversial picture also revived speculations that Melania’s body double is her Secret Service agent with whom she bears a striking resemblance.
DEBUNKING THE CLAIMS
In reality, however, this is only a coincidence. "The United States Secret Service doesn't use body doubles," a CNN contributor and former Secret Service agent said two years ago. The other discrepancies offered in support of the #FakeMelania theory do not add up either.
Other pictures released by the First Lady’s official Instagram page confirm that it was, in fact, Melania who made the Alabama trip with the president. Furthermore, she chose flat sneakers for the particular visit, and because she is often seen in heels, Melania appeared shorter.
#FAKEMELANIA: THE GENESIS
Rumors of a Melania double first came up in October 2017 after a video of her attending an event with the president went viral. The clip shows Melania, again wearing oversized dark shades and a hairstyle that keeps most of her face hidden. It reportedly went viral after a man named Joe Vargas, the owner of a CBD retailer called Buy Legal Meds, shared the footage on twitter and wrote:
“This is not Melania. To think they would go this far & try & make us think its her on TV is mind blowing. Makes me wonder what else is a lie.”
SOCIAL MEDIA REACTION
While many saw the assumption as just another outrageous conspiracy theory concocted by the internet, others seemed to think there was some truth to it.
“You can tell #itsnotmelania from how close she is to Trump and the fact she appears to be agreeing with him,” one person claimed.
Vargas's tweet so far has over 66,000 retweets and 4,000 comments, with most users in agreement with the absurd notion.
RESPONSE FROM THE WHITE HOUSE
The White House shut down the rumors at the time, lamenting the fact that it continues to distract folks from the First Lady’s projects.
"Once again, we find ourselves consumed with a ridiculous non-story when we could be talking about the work the first lady is doing on behalf of children, including the opioid crisis that is gripping our nation," Stephanie Grisham, Mrs. Trump’s director of communications told CNN at the time.
A REAL "FAKE MELANIA"
Although Melania does not have a double that stands in for her at events, there is a fake Melania who does a great job of impersonating the First Lady.
Comedian Laura Benanti appeared last year on an episode of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” where she conducted a fake interview with the famed TV personality.
Benanti left the audience reeling with laughter as she addressed many issues including why she fired national security adviser Mira Ricardel and a chilling confession about the president's "privates."