The ‘Fake Melania’ Conspiracy Theory


Nicholas Kamm /AFP/Getty Images

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump stand outside Providence Baptist Church in Opelika, Ala., during a tour of tornado-damaged areas on March 8

Raquel Perry, Reporter

On Wednesday morning, President Trump criticized the media  for fueling the conspiracy theory that a body double was used for first lady Melania Trump during the presidential trip last week to survey tornado damage in Alabama.

The First Lady, visited a ravaged Alabama with her husband last Friday, so they could pay their respects to the 23 victims of the deadly storms. They held hands as they viewed the white crosses that had been erected in their memory.

But conspiracy theorists noticed the pictures from the visit and pointed out apparent discrepancies between “fake Melania” and the “real”. Some pointed out that the woman in the photo appears to have a different chin, height, hair parting and cheek structure to the First Lady.Some social media users remarked on Melania’s “changing” body language. One Twitter user said the “real” Melania wouldn’t walk in front of Trump – then no hat she “walked off the plane” ahead of her husband.

The theory first started in 2017 when Joe Vargas, the owner of a CBD retailer called Buy Legal Meds, called attention to footage in which the First Lady did not exactly look like her usual self  appeared in sunglasses and a raincoat as the president defended his response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Ever since many people believed that every now and then, when the First Lady is too overwhelmed or tired, she’s replaced by a body double who stands silently at the president’s side at whatever events are on his calendar.

This theory resurfaced on Tuesday when the hosts on ABC television’s morning show The View examined the apparent talk about Melania’s appearance in Alabama under the #fakeMelania hashtag. On Tuesday’s episode of “The View,” co-host Joy Behar said, mockingly,  “Some people think that the first lady is using an imposter,”

On “Fox & Friends,” contributor Tammy Bruce said the ladies of “The View” were using the conspiracy theory as “an excuse to mock the first lady.”

“This is an excuse to be able to mock her, to say she looks short, her face is a different shape — classic mean-girl environment,” Bruce said, adding that the first lady probably looked different because she was “sad,” given the setting.

This theory has been debunked but many social media users still think it’s true. So if it’s not Melania then who is it? Many think a candidate for her double is one of the First Lady’s Secret Service agents, a woman who bears a striking resemblance to her charge, is shorter than her, and wears similar elaborate rings on the job.

President Trump was not amused by the conspiracy theory. “The Fake News photo-shopped pictures of Melania, then propelled conspiracy theories that it’s actually not her by my side in Alabama and other places,” Trump tweeted. “They are only getting more deranged with time!”