Before we get into this: No, first lady Melania Trump is not using a body double.
Ridiculous as it sounds, a lot of Twitter users have been derailed by a conspiracy theory that alleges as much. The theory reached the mainstream with a single tweet (embedded below) that features CNN footage of President Donald Trump discussing the nuclear deal with Iran.
The camera then zooms in ominously on Melania’s face, allowing viewers to examine her every pore — well, the ones not shrouded by her large sunglasses.
“This is not Melania,” wrote a Twitter user with the handle @JoeVargas but with the name BuyLegalMeds.com. (The URL goes to a store selling CBD oil and other products.) “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.”
What seems to be sparking suspicion is the way Trump introduces Melania, as though he’s awkwardly overexplaining her presence at his side. Other people had tweeted similar theories in regards to this same appearances several days prior, according to AOL.
“My wife, Melania, who happens to be right here,” Trump said, gesturing toward her as she nodded and turned to the people off-camera.
To prove the theory, @JoeVargas also tweeted a comparison of a zoomed-in image of Melania Trump on CNN next to a screenshot of a Google search that says ‘photos of milania [sic] trump.’”
Despite the paper-thin evidence, some people took this theory and hit the ground running. For example, Parenthood actress Mae Whitman seemed to want to believe that this conspiracy theory was the real deal.
“Seeing a lot of other photos that this is in fact her,” she tweeted, “but if anyone finds any evidence otherwise keep us posted. Would be v bizarre.”
A number of other people seemed to more wholeheartedly buy into the theory.
Strained as the theory may be, it’s likely related to the speculation of a tense relationship between the Trumps, sparked by things like their body language at the inauguration. As Newsweek noted, similar body double theories popped up around Hillary Clinton surfaced in the time leading up to the 2016 presidential election.
As head-scratching as this all is, at least the good people of Twitter could be counted on — as they always do — to grab hold of the absurdity and create some internet gold.
Behold the #FakeMelania memes.